Thursday 28 February 2013

Blade Runner (1982)

I've known this film by reputation - that of classic science-fiction thriller that I ought to have seen long ago - for a few years. I made mention of 'Blade Runner' to my friend Tom (or, I should say, one of my friend Toms, for I've had either a Tim or a Tom, usually both, within my circle of intimates at every stage of my life, often one or more of each), to whom SF has generally seemed inimical, and he spoke about this film with enthusiasm, suggesting that it has merits despite its genre, as much as because it's science-fiction.  When the film popped up on BBC iPlayer one day I knew I should seize the chance to see it.

This is a classy film, a future noir, and by no means as schlocky as I might have expected from the pitch, a detective tracking down human-looking androids.  Rob, who recommended me Tuesday's film 'Taxi Driver' (1976), told me he'd been disappointed, on watching this as a child, since the premise and the casting of Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard led him to expect an adventure about Han Solo fighting robots, but found that the film offered something almost wholly different.

Deckard and Rachael, and a pleasingly symmetrical shot

It has the intelligence and moral ambiguity of good-quality noir, and the ostensible villains are shown to be anything but.  Not that the androids are falsely accused, or aren't violent, but that this doesn't divide cleanly into good characters and evil.  Nobody is unkind for the sake of it, or for unreasonable personal gain, and Harrison Ford only survives to the end of the film because the greatest of his enemies acts like a person, rather than a character.

The film is very visually attractive, and I greatly like the costumes and make-up on display.  Despite my mundane stylings, I'm intrigued by our world's changing fashions, their silhouettes and details, and especially such eccentric garments as are invented for near futures like this.  Male, female, hats, jackets and all.  It's all developments within reason, and all looks pretty good, quite wearable - and on the outside fringes, this is still a world where the right person in the right context can wear a fez or dungarees, at least in places where they could get away with such garments in the present day.

A slow-motion tumble through glass

As you may reasonably determine from the fact I've already gotten on to the costumes, my memories of the film are here thinning out.  This isn't by any means down to it being a poor or forgettable movie, but I saw it in a sextuple-bill of films two months ago, so this is pretty much where my memories run dry, so I shall curtail matters in an accelerated form.

I'm told that the film is meant to leave open the suggestion that  Harrison Ford's character is himself a replicant, but I entirely failed to get this idea from what I saw.  I was watching the 2007 Final Cut (as opposed to the release versions or the 1992 Director's Cut), which could have some bearing on this, or perhaps not.  Regardless, I can't think that this development would be especially beneficial to the story or the character.  Both had plenty enough going on already. Slightly over half the films I've watched for this project have been new to me, and this is one of fairly few that I think I owe a second viewing to get straight, so I may some day return with second thoughts.

P.S. Since we've just had a run of 60s, 70s then 80s films on the blog, tune in on Sunday for 'King Ralph' (1991).

I couldn't tell you which edits these are, but I'm sure Amazon will inform you if you care.

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