Blade Runner: The Final Cut
A Futuristic Vision Perfected
How exciting to have Ridley Scott kicking off another double-bill, with one of the films upon which his grand reputation has been built. Blade Runner is iconic science-fiction, but it is equally good as noir or a downbeat tragedy; its reserved and underplayed pacing looks stranger and more original each time I see it.
Appearing after hit roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford brings real charisma to Rick Deckard, an LAPD ‘blade runner’: a detective who works identifying and executing rogue androids (who, naturally, are indistinct from humans to look at). After a group of enslaved robots escape from a colony planet, the Earth-bound authority fear the danger that they pose, hiding in plain sight in the city community. So Deckard is tasked with hunting them down - armed with a blaster, and a baroque-looking eye scanner which can identify non-humans. Like Minority Report, there’s a motif of eyes, straddling authenticity and manufacture.
Blade Runner was troubled by studio interference resulting in various versions, but its influential sci-fi vision is evident in all of them. It’s a dirty, foggy cityscape, of alleyways and rain and febrile neon signs. But this version has the simplicity and ambiguity of the intended story restored; Deckard’s task is complicated by his growing affection for replicant model Rachael, and is forced to reflect on his human nature as a result. But despite the apparent ubiquity of these themes, Blade Runner’s originality - and haunting futuristic score - remain breathtaking.
Before you see Blade Runner: 2049, make sure to watch the magnificent sci-fi masterpiece that is Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut. There’s been several cuts of Blade Runner, but this one is as the director intended it to be seen and is, arguably, the best. Ridley Scott redefined the genre and practically created the sci-fi noir with the brooding and beautiful world of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) - a “blade runner” whose job it is to find and terminate androids.
Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Blade Runner is a classic of its time and maintains a place in cinema history due to its stellar cinematography and cerebral musings. But there’s more to Blade Runner than that. Revolutionary to its time, it inspired many of the science fiction films and books that fill our screens today and even on rewatch, there’s always something new to see.
It’s beautiful on the big screen, so don’t miss your chance to see it!Tiff Milner
Ridley Scott’s undisputed masterpiece (sorry, Alien) and perhaps the greatest sci-fi film of all time, Blade Runner presents an unrivalled depiction of a dystopian future America. Set in 2019 Los Angeles, Blade Runner follows Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), the eponymous hunter of ‘replicants’ (bioengineered androids). Deckard is charged with ‘retiring’ four runaway replicants, who have arrived on Earth seeking to extend their deliberately-limited lifespans of four years. But the plot serves more as a vehicle for a number of important philosophical questions (for example, what does it mean to be ‘human’?) and for the stunning world-building.
Blade Runner’s L.A. is a fully-realised noir metropolis, and has aged incredibly well despite the film being over thirty years old. The film is among the best shot of all time – with revelatory cinematography and lighting crafting a sustained dark, eerie atmosphere. Aided by Vangelis’s iconic, synth-heavy ambient score, Scott delivers a truly singular vision. Presented here in all its Final Cut glory, the film is stripped of the Theatrical Cut’s studio-imposed happy ending and Harrison Ford’s expository narration, and is much the better for it. Needless to say, Blade Runner is a must-see for any film-lover; just don’t go in expecting total clarity – like perhaps all great works of art, Scott presents more questions than he answers.
Screenings of this film:
|2014/2015 Summer Term – (digital)|
|2017/2018 Spring Term – (digital)|
|2022/2023 Autumn Term – (digital)|