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Bladerunner: The Directors Cut

Man Has Made His Match... Now It's His Problem. 

Year: 1982 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Often named as the best science fiction movie ever, it's difficult to do this film justice in a review. "Bladerunner" is Ridley Scott's finest film and a classic in its own right.

In the near future the Tyrell corporation has perfected the Nexus series of replicants - beings manufactured to be precise (but improved) imitations of human being. Replicants are used in off-world installations as soldiers and slaves. The occasional escape by some replicants leads to the creation, within the police forces, of special 'Bladerunner' departments to hunt down and kill renegade replicants.

Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a Bladerunner forced out of retirement to kill four exceptionally dangerous replicants. Self-aware and extremely intelligent, the replicants have a life span of four years, and the renegades' leader, Roy (Hauer), is seeking a way to adjust their programming, allowing them to live longer.

The visual effects throughout the film suggest a dark, dangerous future. Settings are strangely familiar, immense 21st Century buildings still carry Coco-Cola adverts but the tone of the film is moody and threatening. Ridley Scott creates scenes of a sprawling, dazzling city, forever shrouded in pollution and rain. Vangelis' haunting score adds much to the atmosphere.

The acting is exceptional. Ford shows why he has become the star he is today, portraying Deckard's moral uncertainties with skill and subtlety. The role of Roy, the replicants' leader, is ideal for Hauer. The scenes when Roy meets the men who created him are frightening and memorable. The supporting cast maintain this standard with intense, convincing performances.

While Bladerunner is a science fiction film, it addresses the timeless themes of mortality and what it means to be human, at times with violence, at other times with tenderness. Also offering an account of a post-modernist society, with shocking clarity. We are showing the director's cut: an unnecessary narration, originally added late in production for the benefit of American audiences, is removed and the film's original ending is restored. This version is a masterpiece.

Neil Richardson.

Revival after revival after revival, Bladerunner just keeps getting better. Ridley Scott's vision of the future, and Harrison Ford's pared down performance, are just two of the many pleasures to be gleaned from watching this seminal classic as it was meant to be seen: in the cinema.

Shall I tell you the plot? I think it would be entirely unnecessary and besides, the film is so deliciously enigmatic it's almost impossible to pin-down. A few words about the director's cut might be in order: Scott's bizarre blend of noir and SF languished in cult fanaticism for many years until the advent of video. Quickly spotting that they were onto a winner, the distributors allowed Scott to attempt to reconstitute the film as he originally intended it to be, rather than the version the studio execs got their grubby little mitts on. Out went Harrison's badly-written voice-over, out goes the silly ending with footage stolen from The Shining (of all films) and in goes a unicorn. Well, more or less.

Film soc tries to show Bladerunner every year, just so that all the new first years can get to see it (aren't we sweet?) - so revel in this opportunity to see an undisputable masterpiece. Scott has not since reached the same heights of visual splendour, and deep (though unpretentious) meaning.

Mark Chambers

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Screenings of this film:

1994/1995 Spring Term (35mm)
1996/1997 Spring Term (35mm)