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Blade Runner Movie Review

life rachael tyrell deckard

1982, 1992 (Director's Cut) – Ridley Scott –

Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick entitled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner offers a strange, bleak vision of the future that is nonetheless depicted with a sort of gloomy beauty. The year is 2019 and the setting is a perpetually dark and dirty Los Angeles. The city seems ruled by the monolithic Tyrell corporation, a manufacturer of artificial life forms that is housed in a monstrous building resembling an ancient pyramid, as if in testament to the life-generating power of this corporate entity. Police officer Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is sent to hunt down a group of illegal, murderous androids (called replicants) that have returned to Earth in search of a way to extend their four-year life spans. Along the way, Deckard meets and falls in love with Rachael (Sean Young), a replicant who had human memories implanted in her, making her think she is human and making the discovery of her true nature particularly sad.

Scott fashions a visually stunning film, an eerily exquisite portrait of a predominantly dark, shadow-filled landscape broken only by dull artificial illumination and occasional shafts of light that never come from the vanquished sun. It is a chaotic world that seems to lack any future or any hope. Mankind has reached new levels of technology, but such advancement has not made for a better or more beautiful world. The visual dynamics of the production design and the photographic artistry make watching Blade Runner a fascinating, though cheerless, experience.

The plot is rather slim and the full potential of the characters is not thoroughly realized. Rachael's discovery that she is artificial, for instance, is depicted as merely a sad moment for her, and the full emotional impact of such a revelation does not come across. The quest of the replicants for extended life gives them a near-tragic dimension that almost leads to sympathy, but again the extent of such a driving need seems touched upon only lightly, considering the magnitude of its effect on the androids.

What does remain fascinating, though, are the broader implications of the story and how they reflect on more cosmic issues. Mankind as seen in the person of Tyrell (Joe Turkel), who lives above the city in his high temple, has reached a sort of godlike power, and he treats his creation as a machine to be exploited, ignored, and destroyed at will, all for the sake of “progress” and the almighty dollar. Tyrell and the humanity he represents thus join the renegade replicants as the villains of the story. In his progress and ascension, man has created life but then rejected it and denied it all its needs. Deckard, in his sympathy for Rachael and his ability to love her (and show her how to love), represents the only redemption either man or replicant can hope for.

Cast: Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard), Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty), Sean Young (Rachael), Edward James Olmos (Gaff), M. Emmet Walsh (Bryant), Daryl Hannah (Pris), William Sanderson (J. F. Sebastian), Brion James (Leon), Joe Turkel (Tyrell), Joanna Cassidy (Zhora), James Hong (Chew), Morgan Paull (Holden), Kevin Thompson (Bear), John Edward Allen (Kaiser), Hy Pyke (Taffey Lewis) Screenwriter: Hampton Fancher, David Peoples Cinematographer: Jordan Cronenweth Composer: Vangelis Producer: Michael Deeley for Warner Bros. MPAA Rating: R Running Time: 117 minutes Format: VHS, LV, DVD Awards: Academy Awards, 1982: Nominations: Art Direction/Set Decoration, Visual Effects.

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