Blade Runner (1982)

“Blade Runner” (1982)


Impressionism in dystopic contours

First of all, Blade Runner is not about a story, it’s not about, characters, it’s not about being concrete. It’s about landscape, it’s about city, as reflex of civilization. It’s about correcting our present, knowing what happened in the past. And so, the future is used, so the sci-fi mood is brought. Paradoxal it may be, the future tense gives the viewer the necessary distance towards what he is supposed to “see”. And what you see is in here fundamental, not because of the spectacular sets, not because the astonishing prediction of what city will be in years to come but because it only shows what’s already in front of us. Practically every sci-fi film that tries to predict an entirely new city is based on what is “futuristic” in the time of its idealization, from visual power masterpieces like Metropolis, to franchised versions of a future world like Demolition Man. Ridley Scott proposes a city that exists already, today, now. We get to the future through present, our present and that links us to it where the future tense gave us distance. Everything is deliberately thrown in a dystopic, chaos like package, that shakes, not because it’s dark and rainy, but because it’s in a city that exists now, and in buildings older than a century now. Sebastian lives in a neoclassic building from probably end of XIXth century, the routs of everything clearly bad and distorted and perverse in this Scott’s future are clearly anchored on our present. Obviously every sci-fi director is before anything else, an earth inhabitant, so his base is his reality as a earthier, but in here, he makes the effort to through that at the viewer.

So, everything is classical, Sean Young, a replicant that doesn’t know it, has a classical beauty, the characterization, the way she moves, the way she talks. She plays the piano. She has a memory. She is human, except for the fact she is a replicant, created by men and that’s where man is elevated to the category of god in the exact measure that he creates with the same perfection as Him. The camera is Deckard, the camera is the observer and this observer works in the top of the buildings, works above humanity, works on the last floor of Tyrell’s Olympus like industrial complex. What is made in here is a change in time scale notion in order to get us, as viewers, down to earth. If god is eternity, and men’s life is a second in eternity; what we see here is Men’s life becoming the possible eternity and the replicants’ 4 years life just a small passage in reality. Whenever replicants are referred in Blade Runner it is in fact me who is being referred. Ultimately, this may be about falling to earth with the notion that time is precious, and 4 years can be a long time, if well used. “all those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain”, says Rutger Hauer’s character.This is about keeping memory for eternity, whatever that is.

Men is reflected on his creation, his imperfections, but also his qualities, show up in what he creates. So, throughout the film, we come to change our view of the replicants, from menace to empathy, from desire to eliminate (as survival instinct) to desire to embrace and consequent emptiness for their disappearance. That’s when replicants become men, that’s when we know he’s not talking about robots, but us. “petty she won’t live, but again, who will?” this is bottom line, nothing lasts forever, creator or creation. Still, facing the inevitability of death doesn’t stop Deckard from running for life, or replicants from trying to live.

Another aspect is that there is no “soundtrack”, there is no “music” in this one, only “soundscapes”, as dystopic as the city, as dark as this future, as empty as no future. Those sounds are the story of that city, are the story of our past, as told in our present, where there is no memory, where memories are forgotten, or made up as, once more, a survival device. Memory is a pillow for emotions, says Tyrell, he is god, he knows emotions are needed in order to exist, but he also knows he can’t perpetuate lies about it, he knows he will die.

Ultimately this may be a film noir anchored sci-fi film which, if well explored, could become a genre in itself. Checking it, you will find practically every aspect of film noir in it. For every aspect I referred, i believe this to be the essential sci-fi film, fulfilling completely the role that sci-fi was always supposed to have, but hardly ever had. Between 1979 with Alien and 1982 with this one, Ridley Scott moved definitely forward in understanding what science fiction is, and how it should leak into film making. Every artist has his limits in innovation and creation, apparently Scott’s limit was defined here. His post work never got to be as influential or good as these two films, but, what he gave was more than enough.

My evaluation: 5/5 This rating wasn’t needed, what i said should be enough.

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