Blade Runner (1982) – Chilling, Bold, Mesmerizing

Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” is one of the greatest sci-fi movies all times. It has to be, has been the most influential movie ever. Based on the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick, this film failed a year. Total failure in terms of income and in terms of responses from critics and audiences. Just like “2001: A Space Odyssey”, I stuck with both movies to appreciate it for a long time. Both films have the same fate but after decades, they have finally regarded as one of the best films. It reconstructs the genre of the 40s noir with a more futuristic dystopian world of its own.

While everybody has discussed what this movie really was, the setting takes on in the future, which is now. Sure, we got a dystopian building, androids with more self-awareness, and flying cars. The Tyrell Corporation is a company responsible for creating Replicants. It is an android who has artificial and physical intelligence exactly the same as humans. They work in off-world colonies outside Earth so it’s strictly forbidden to enter Earth. Enter Deckard (Harrison Ford) as Blade Runner, a Replicants hunter. He got a case that four androids managed to infiltrate Earth and sneak in to adapt to other humans.

It seems like the setting of the film is still so far from such a current year. This film takes place in 2019 but why don’t we still get a flying car? Where is the Android? Space Colony? Back to the age of technological slavery? But, that’s an interesting thing about how this film was so modern it was produced in the ’80s. Only a few visionary directors are truly capable of creating their own visual style over time. Just like Stanley Kubrick, Scott is the most director in general who has a reference. Having inspiration in science fiction literature, Scott has long been known thanks to “Alien” and “Aliens”. His films left a strong impression including “Blade Runner” as a science fiction pioneer. It takes so much inspiration besides “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”.

Just call your favorite media whether it’s novels, movies, video games or anime. “The Matrix”, “Ghost in the Shell”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Psycho-Pass“, “Ergo Proxy“, “Detroit: Become Human”, and etc. Scott is not a director in general, does not like excessive things including the CGI. With his production team, he created a dystopian miniature city in the style of Los Angeles, creating an illusion under a futuristic city that looks alive. If only he uses computer effects, this film could look like an ordinary science fiction film that year. However, he still sticks with the Kubrickian style, relies on the depiction of the narrow, horror and humid corners of the city of Los Angeles. It’s like a tribute and love letter to film-noir and sci-fi genre.

Vangelis‘ score is one of the electronic composers been widely known in such a year and is the best choice for Scott. He combined a futuristic but retro sound simultaneously. It’s very atmospheric with such an ambient feeling sound. Quickly merges directly into the slow narrative but would certainly be achieved. You have to listen closely, understand, absorb it, live it. Don’t hurry, pay close attention to Jordan Cronenweth’s cinematography. You have to see this, see that, until finally, the visual and the sound like ringing in your mind.

That’s the way to appreciate the movie. But, what about the story? Okay. For Roger Ebert himself, he must be able to put this film into his Great Movie list after 25 years. That’s all, he must watch the Final Cut where all the clues from Scott save it best. And that’s my first impression when watching this. It’s so boring but not too like “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Even so, I can’t blame myself because everyone has the same experience. People misunderstood this movie when it hits theaters. Not to mention at the same time, Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” became Oscar-worthy and the audience’s favorite movie. What a lame-o. People start appreciated it after a decade when the new “Blade Runner” hit its trailer. However, this film has a strong cultural status as one of the films still often talked about because of its philosophical value.

Don’t expect action. There is no action, at least, but I bet you will stop this movie in the middle or stop and take a break. This is not a boring film because it has managed to offer a so interesting premise. The execution is very great but with its slow pace, “Blade Runner” is very minimalistic when it comes to it. An unclear or heavy storytelling, transitions between rough scenes and scenes. There are no likable characters and a disappointment to get better out of finishing. However, this film offers a philosophical element similar to “Black Mirror” even with Alex Garland’sEx Machina“. You know, something like an inner and outer conflict between androids and humans. Who is more human? Android is more concerned with each other than humans themselves who don’t seem to care about others and even Android.

Its philosophical elements didn’t stop there but there is the morality of each character both Deckard and Replicants. Even Ridley Scott put a lot of instructions in various versions of the film. It could be a small detail or a deleted scene, this film tries to unite you and ask who Deckard really was? Was he pure human or also part of Replicants? In fact, the debate between Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott is very contradictory where both of them theorize each other. Then, what’s “Blade Runner” really? Does this tell you about Replicants who try to be human? Or humans who only question their morality? Who is the villain? Who is to blame? What’s the meaning of Roy Batty’s (Rutger Hauer) monologue improvisation at the end of the movie?

Ridley Scott himself was very interested in scientific and philosophical concepts about humans against God or the creator against artificial intelligence. This film is subjective depending on the interpretation of each audience. That’s where I like the most from films about philosophy and ambiguity. Films like this are what I like because I might still be talking about this film for the next 10 or 20 years. A visual performance from Ridley Scott in realizing this “ridiculous” future dystopian world. Cold, mysterious, dark, dehumanization, but captures it in all its beauty. “Blade Runner” binds the inability of each of us to understand what humans and emotions really are. Just watch the Final Cut if you want to be easier to understand. However, I suggest you have to watch everything from the Theatrical Cut, Director Cut, International Cut, and whatsoever Cut.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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