Another chance to see one of the greatest films of all time on the big screen. If you’ve already seen it, you need little more motivation than that, and if you haven’t, you should have booked your ticket weeks ago.
Based on Philip K Dick’s seminal novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ridley Scott thrusts us into a world of murderous replicants lead by Rutger Hauer’s Batty. On their trail is disillusioned cop Deckard (Harrison Ford), who is pulled out of semi-retirement for one last job. As LA crumbles under the weight of its own rapid industrialisation, the high-rise buildings hide away rain-soaked streets full of light and colour but little soul. This backdrop is punctuated by the violence of the replicants who have a desperate need to meet their maker. It’s one Deckard is given an insight into when he is introduced to Rachael (Sean Young), an artificial intelligence who has “fake” memories planted into her programming. She is about to learn the hard way that she isn’t human. As time runs out for Batty and Pris (Daryl Hannah), Deckard begins to question everything he is doing. Does he himself have something to discover about the meaning of life?
There’s not much more that can be said about Ridley Scott’s superb sci-fi classic Blade Runner. It’s been analysed, reviewed and even edited into different versions before, and all aspects of its dark, dystopian ever-nearer future have been closely examined. This version is even more concise than the Director’s Cut released a few years ago was, both versions having exorcised Harrison Ford’s dreary, couldn’t-care-less voice over.
The visual effects aren’t just on a par with those of modern films, they are arguably better. With computer effects something of a luxury in 1982 when Scott made the film, huge sets were built to recreate the futuristic vision he had in mind. Used sparingly, the computer effects look good to this day, unlike many films that followed in the intervening years.
Ford’s own miserable persona, rumoured to be down to his general dissatisfaction with everything to do with the project, adds to the drama. Deckard wonders around usually falling into the action rather than actively hunting down his targets. The finale is largely due to Batty having accepted his fate rather than some piece of brilliant detective work on the part of Deckard.
There is always something new to discover in a film like this. Its layers aren’t just added on for effect, but are inherent in its DNA. Every line of dialogue is loaded, and the ubiquitous question that surrounds the mortality of the central character only adds to the desire to watch and re-watch the film.
Hauer gives a chillingly convincing performance as the juvenile Batty in a monstrous body. His flickering emotions give way to ice cold realism in some brutal sequences, but we fully believe his desperation is of the utmost importance. There are times when you are willing Deckard to step aside, just so Roy can finish what he has started.
This is a classic worth re-discovering and one you should do so on the biggest screen possible.