Blade Runner. My husband’s favourite film ever. No pressure there then. I was a bit ‘meh’ about watching this when I first met my husband back in 2001, but I am so glad I did. This is cinematic art.
Directed by Ridley Scott, Blade Runner is based on the novel by Philip K Dick, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’. Released in 1982 the film performed disappointingly at the box office. That Summer was dominated by Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Many popular films have started this way; Austin Powers and The Bourne Identity by example. After home viewing and word of mouth, along with Blade Runner’s re-release in 1992, the film achieved cult status.
Set in 2019 (which must have felt very far off back in 1982), in a dystopian LA, the androids, called replicants, are organic engineered robots, created by the Tyrell Corporation, who look like humans. Their function is for work or pleasure, on other planets (colonies). They are banned from Earth. Any replicants who return to Earth are hunted down and ‘retired’ by blade runners. Replicants also have an ‘expiry’ date.
Harrison Ford plays Deckard, an ex-blade runner who is asked to retire a group of four very dangerous replicants (Pris, Leon and Zhora) led by Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer). Sean Young plays a replicant called Rachael who works for the Tyrell Corporation. Her gorgeous wardrobe/look is 40’s in style and she is reminiscent of screen sirens such as Hedy Lamarr. It’s her character that makes Deckard (along with Roy later) question what he does.
If you love sci-fi, this film is for you. If you love design and amazing cinematography, this film is for you. It has all this in spades. Visually, this future world, although dark and almost permanently raining, is stunningly beautiful in it’s sci-fi noir theme. Ridley Scott’s films have a very distinct style and this is no exception.
I will leave you with a quote from the most famous scene, improvised by Rutger Hauer, which is Roy’s speech to Deckard:
“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 Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time…like tears in the rain…”
When Pris (Daryl Hannah) runs away from JL Sebastian and skids into his car, breaking the window with her elbow, it was a genuine accident and it was real glass
The first cut of Blade Runner was 4 hours
Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott had a disagreement/falling out for years over the Director’s Cut, which implied that Deckard was a replicant
This is Rutger Hauer’s favourite of his own films
Martin Scorsese met Philip K Dick in 1969 to discuss a film adaptation, but it fell through
All these fantastic images courtesy of IMDb