Blade Runner

AFI Rank: #97 (10th Anniversary list)
Year Released: 1982
Director: Ridley Scott
Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young

Blade Runner wasn't on the first version of the AFI Top 100 listing, but it managed to wriggle its way onto the second one, getting in at #97. I adore Blade Runner and was very pleased that it got on.

I should say first that I'm an absolutely avid fan of Philip K. Dick and have read most of his short stories and novels. The author was brilliant. So I absolutely understand all the trauma about the movie version vs the novel version, as well as the different movie versions. I think what one has to say in the end is that they all tell a different story, and that is OK. The novel can be appreciated for what it has, and the movie can be appreciated for its quite different view of a world. They are separate but equally fascinating.

The movie version is much more of a Film Noir / Chandler movie pulled into a bleak future. Much of the novel's subtle messages are lost, but that's OK. It's a less than two hour movie. They probably would have had to have done a Lord of the Rings and expanded it to three hours to get the actual story done properly here.

One interesting change is that the three main female characters are now all androids. Those are literally the only females in the entire movie. You get a cartwheeling android female, a snake-wearing android female, and of course the ice-cool android female. And they never interact at all. Their purpose in the movie is to be lusted after and/or shot by the men.

The dark, sullen cinematography influenced a wealth of watchers and spawned a whole new look to sci-fi. If Star Wars can be credited for bringing a "gritiness" to a sci-fi world which until then had been shiny and new, Blade Runner is what it brought it into its darkest depths. I think if you put the Star Wars cantina up against the bars at Blade Runner's slums, it would be the Blade Runner crew who would win the fight.

The movie is infused with weary despair. When Ford stands, exhausted, in his stuff-filled apartment, nursing a drink, you can see the same stretched-to-the-limits feeling that we get from Hauer when he feels his life slipping away.

Well recommended.

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AFI Top 100 Film Listing
Male vs Female Actors in the AFI Top 100
The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100