Paul’s pre-game fixture was his choice of movie at the Lighthouse Cinema. From the vast selection (of 3 apparently) was chosen Blade Runner. I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet has seen this movie, we caught the last few last night. It’s a movie about what it is to be human, in a wrapping of film noir, garnished with sci-fi. I’d seen both the ordinary version and the version on screen last night, the Director’s Cut, which chops the much-lamented narration by Harrison Ford’s Deckard.
The plot centres around the escape to earth of 4 artificial humans called Replicants. They are slaves, genetically engineered to be better, faster, smarter, stronger… and to live only 4 years as a control mechanism. This is explained to the audience by a short bit of scrolling text and then some in-character exposition which violates the very premis of the main character: Deckard, woodenly portrayed by Ford in the year beteen Empire and Jedi, is the best “Blade Runner” – cops who chase runaway replicants. He’s been forcibly brought back out of retirement to hunt the four renegades, but early in the movie his boss must explain many key facts about Replicants to him. How he did his job before that is anyone’s guess.
The emotional story being told is Deckard’s realisation that Replicants are people too. this begins when introduced to Rachel, a replicant who doesn’t know what she is. “How can she not know?” is his question, answered slowly and painfully by the realisation that how can anybody really know? This is done both through the stilted love story, and through the reactions of the four fugitives to their coming mortality.
The visuals are truly impressive, even after 23 years there was nothing which jarred or jolted the audience. The panoramic scenes of 2019 USA were captivating and original. The decay in the slums was almost palpable: you could almost smell the mold. The EGA graphics took a small amount of credibility away, but less so due to the generally decrepit nature of much of the world.
Re-watching this movie in the modern age I thought that it was still interesting, but that the plot structure could be a bit tighter, and a more sensitive director could bring more life to the characters. All of the characters are very emotionally flat, they lack sophisticated emotional responses. In the part of the Replicants, this is partly the point – because of their short life-span they don’t have time to develop emotional maturity. For the human cast, which basically consists of Harrison Ford and William Sanderson, this is less understandable. I also found myself repelled by Deckard’s brutality in the seduction scene between him and Rachael.
Overall, this review is even more disjointed than the movie. It’s a damned good movie, but time and re-watching aren’t as kind to it as they are to, say, Casablanca, The Empire Strikes Back, and a few others. The main fault is in lazy structuring leading to long periods of not much happenning, and a slight lack of storytelling focus; there are areas peripheral to the main theme which could easily have been explore but weren’t. Lastly, the acting and characterisation wasn’t that great, all of the actors have done better work before and since.