Blade Runner Screen 7 articles

Blade Runner

1982

Blade Runner Poster
  • It's now deemed a crime to describe a movie as being pretentious, the inference being that it's operating on an intellectual plain which the lowly writer is unable (or, more likely, unwilling) to fathom. So let's say that Blade Runner is a movie of extraordinary self-importance, every immaculate vista held for a length of time redolent of a director in rapturous love with the piece of art he's made.

  • Neither a complex revision nor a simple restoration, it’s a retooling that presents the project as it was originally conceived. Although some of the violence has been intensified and stretched out, new footage isn’t really the point. The focus instead is on redressing technical errors and making other helpful adjustments, giving the film a fully comprehensible narrative. For the first time every detail falls into place.

  • The grunge and rot of Ridley Scott's masterpiece owes a sizable debt to the legacies of film noir and steampunk: a future defined by overdevelopment, underregulation, hubris, and greed. With an army of set builders and special effects wizards, as well as Scott's own predilection for casting sodium lights through fog and cigarette smoke, Blade Runner at least conceptually realizes Hollywood's dream of sci-fi: sex, action, and spectacle.

  • It's not so much that art direction, set design, cinematography, editing, music, and acting are working at cross-purposes--instead, they're merely zipping along semi-autonomously, without being shaped into a grammatical whole. So, it's odd and kind of touching that Ridley Scott has repeatedly re-asserted his authorship of this unruly, seemingly author-less masterwork.

  • The female body is an erotic phantasm reflected in shards of glass. Human creators are haunted and inevitably destroyed by their own creations. Blade Runner’s visual terrain – and its articulations in human-like bodies – places the film in the middle of a temporal tug-of-war. Utopian intertexts and visualized nostalgia, both spectral presences, are at perpetual odds in Scott’s dystopic vision of the future.

  • Its dystopia is one dominated by advertisements for Atari, Bell and Pan Am, none of which are still around, but this so-called “curse” has not dated the film’s world as much as it has rendered it more alien. That’s perfect for Blade Runner, a film whose world continues to expand in small details, from a mechanical owl and snake to an overrun Chinatown, always ready to burst at the seams.

  • I want to talk a little about other, less deliberate and less reasonable muddle in BLADE RUNNER’s exposition. If you don’t like the film you’ll agree these are problematic. If you do like the film, you’ll hopefully find it striking that a film can be compelling even with such nonsensical elements in its storytelling.

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