The 1982 theatrical release of Blade Runner is regarded by many as the poorest iteration of Ridley Scott’s landmark science fiction think piece. The 1992 Director’s Cut of the film saw another variant of the story that significantly altered its viewing. Then in 2007, the Final Cut was released, which is purportedly the official, authorized, truest version of the film to date.
Assuming the movie has made up its mind, this Final Cut version asks some of the most important questions a film can ask, albeit at an unhurried if not stalled pace. Harrison Ford (Star Wars/Raiders of the Lost Ark) stars as Rick Deckard, a “blade runner”, defined as a 2019 L.A.P.D. investigative officer who tracks down rogue androids who pass as humans, known as “replicants”.
The film is absolutely masterful at creating a world that is cinematically believable and real. The opening shot of a 2019 Los Angeles clues us into the inevitability of urban crawl; namely, the absolute absence of nature. The visuals are so stunning, especially for such an older movie, that its crawling pace and narrative are almost secondary. Maybe the visuals and sci-fi technology portrayed in the film were so revolutionary in the 1980’s the beat of the plot wasn’t as essential, but any setting only goes as far as the story.
Deckard hunts down the replicants as aptly as one in his position is able to do, but it’s the subtle, if not undersold poignancy, of the film’s philosophical crux that makes the movie rewatchable. The replicants seek out their creator. They seek out what kind of creation they are. They seem, and in fact are, more interested in the polemic questions of “Why is there something?”, and “Why isn’t there nothing?”, much for fervently than any human in the story. This is what may make the movie great if it is going to be great. The creation’s groaning for reconciliation with its Creator. But the film relies so heavily on the stunning visuals and their cinemascope, it scratches the surface of a question that a two-hour runtime should have plenty of opportunities to plumb the depths of.
Ironically, or interestingly enough, the most human line in the film is delivered by an android played by Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins/Sin City). His character, named Roy Batty, says, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” This is one of the greatest lines in all of cinema, (apparently ad-libbed by the way) and it makes the movie worth watching. What happens to the moments we love and share, either alone or with community? Where do these experiential stamps on time continue on or wither away? And why? Why is any moment, by design, given an expiration date?
Few questions are worth answering more than these. If the film had more to say, the audience would too.
Article Written By Nick Murillo
eParisExtra.com Movie Reviewer