Director: Ridley Scott
Verdict: Nearly a masterpiece
What to say about Blade Runner that hasn’t already been said? Who cares I’m gonna say it anyway. Blade Runner is an absolutely beautiful, work of art. It’s also got some really exciting set pieces, and a poignant tear jerking ending that still ends on an exciting note.
Blade Runner is a sci-fi noir in the vein of something like Dark City, which takes place in the year 2019, (I know but this was the 80s forgive their naive souls), in which we have created a race of workers almost exactly like humans except they have a four year life span. The film brings up questions of if we create beings capable of developing emotions do we have the right to take their life away before it’s fully developed, would our gods and fathers have that right of us?
There’s so much to love about Blade Runner, (if you’re watching the final cut); the gorgeous cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth, (Altered States); the hypnotic, unmistakable 80s score by Vangelis that somehow does not at all what you’d expect but works perfectly, the score alone represents the wonderful meeting between the two genres of sci-fi and film noir Balde Runner demonstrates; the wonderful production design that sometimes the camera will just get distracted to look at, there are aspects of this world lesser directors wouldn’t show us and director Ridley Scott takes every opportunity to show us this world he has meticulously created, there is no film quite like Blade Runner, many have tried, (Pluto Nash for one *shudders*), but none quite cut it; the fantastic screenplay by Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples, (Twelve Monkeys), that takes on a lot of burden and succeeds.
The film is not in the least helped by a hefty hosts of supporting performances, which honestly balances out the at-his-best-ever but-still-wooden Harrison Ford, (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Apocalypse Now), who, I really don’t understand why he’s famous because he really can’t fucking act. Ridley Scott has a way of choosing a great supporting cast, in The Martian he demonstrated it by filling every role with talented actors, here, like Sergio Leone, (Once Upon a Time in the West, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), does so frequently, he fills every roll with talented faces that just happen to be on good actors. With people like Edward James Olmos, (Battlestar Galactica, Stand and Deliver), M. Emmet Walsh, (Wild Wild West, Blood Simple.), and William Sanderson, (Last Man Standing, True Blood), their faces are so interesting it does half the job for them. This isn’t to downgrade their performances, they all do fine jobs. By far though, the standout is co-star Rutger Houer, (Batman Begins, Sin City, The Hitcher), as the charismatic but emotionally infantile Roy Batty, a combat replicant. He is enigmatic, empathetic and deeply sorrowful in his role, and he carries it off with aplomb, his little double couplet at the end gets me on the verge of tears every time.
Blade Runner was recently listed on WatchMojo’s list of masterpieces that are actually kind of boring, and I disagree. It’s slow, but never boring, there’s always something interesting happening and the final show down set piece is thrilling. One problem is the sex scene which verges on rape, I think the film gets away with it but only just and it is problematic at best. However, the film would be a masterpiece if it wasn’t for that scene, and to quote the film, Ridley Scott, “has done a man’s work”, with Blade Runner.