Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blade Runner (1982)

In Ridley Scott's dystopian vision of futuristic Los Angeles, Blade Runner (1982), Harrison Ford plays a "Blade Runner;" A sort of policeman charged with eliminating "replicants," who are human-appearing androids that are forbidden to be on the suface of the Earth. This is, in my personal opinion, the greatest science fiction movie ever made. In addition, it is a splendid example of the neo-noir style.

Harrison Ford brings an exquisite moral ambiguity to the character of Richard Deckard, a man who is tired of killing and hates his job, but cannot find a way to escape it.

Sean Young plays Rachael, struggling with her identity, haunted by memories that may not be her own and afraid that she will discover she is a replicant.

Rutger Hauer is brilliant as Roy Batty, the replicant leader, willing to fight and kill for the chance to live.

Edward James Olmos is Gaff, the cynical detective who leaves little origami figures wherever he goes and who ropes Deckard into one final Blade Runner task.

Daryl Hannah is Pris, the "basic pleasure model" who seduces J.F. Sebastian into providing access to the Tyrell inner sanctum and the replicants' creator.

The beautiful but deadly Zhora is played by Joanna Cassidy.

Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell, the creator of the Nexus series of replicants.

J.F. Sebastian, who works for Tyrell, and whose hobby is the creation of android toys, is played by William Sanderson.

The cinematography in this film is nothing less than gorgeous. The bluish haze of the city, dirty, wet and gritty, contribute to the noirish atmosphere and the brilliant use of shadow and low camera angles lend it a familiar tone to those familiar will the noir tradition. This is not CGI, either. It was made in 1982, so the effects are all achieved through models.

This is neither space opera nor post apocalyptic horror story. It is detective noir set in a grim unappealing future cityscape. It's also a love story, but a story of lovers afraid of what the truth about themselves might be. Most of all, this is a philosophical treatise on what it means to be human and the questions each of us have about life. How long will I live? Why must I die? What happens when I die? Does my creator care? At the end of the film we are left wondering if the replicants are human, and if Deckard himself is a replicant. Scott raises more questions than he answers, and critics are still debating the many layers of meaning in this film.


  1. Thanks for your views and kind words for one of my favorites, too, Mark.

  2. Thanks so much for uploading all of these images - they look so fantastic -- I absolutely rate this film, my all time favourite

  3. Awesome tribute to one of the best movies ever made!

  4. This is one of my all time favourite movies - thank you for putting such great photos and text.