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Blade Runner: Director’s Cut

August 24, 2010

Blade Runner: Director’s Cut (1982)
Director: Ridley Scott
Actors: Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer

Synopsis: Deckerd (Harrison Ford) is a ‘blade runner’ – a cop designed to flush out rogue genetically-modified humans (replicants) used as slaves on off-world colonies. When Deckerd is forced to hunt a group of escaped replicants led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), his conscience becomes increasingly troubled.

Review: One way of looking at cinema is as a form of dreamscape, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (especially the Director’s Cut with its removal of voiceover) is apotheosis of such an idea. What really elevates Scott’s film to this exalted level and above other versions of pulp/science-fiction is not simply its high-minded plot (after all, the ‘existential’ subject matter is a common theme in futuristic movies), but the stylish, maverick ethos that underpins every aspect of the film’s conception and realisation. Even though the film has many referents – Fritz Lang, Edward Hopper, film noir, fifties ‘B’ Movies – it is undeniably unique and has an uncanny sensory effect that is only enhanced with the anti-dramatic changes made in the director’s cut.

Scott’s flair for expressionist lighting and elaborate production design that was to feel tired later in his career is rhetorically correct here, and watching the film for the umpteenth time, the sound design seems increasingly impressive and radical. The ethereal echo in Tyrell’s office embellishes his God-like status, and the scene where Roy Batty goes to see the optical genetic engineer in the freezing laboratory has an absolutely remarkable sense of atmosphere and sound. Even though many people will be flattered by the metaphysical and biblical allusions – and they are certainly entertainingly portrayed – it is the wistful, haunting impression of a dystopian future that will resonate longest with me. (May 2007)

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