accelerated decrepitude

Ah yes, Blade Runner, it is a quiet and somber film, science fiction in its settings and its antagonists, but a detective story in all else. It is the grand film noir of the future, replete with shady trench-coated policemen, a foggy Los Angeles of rainy streets and perpetual darkness and every room is smoke filled. In this place is a tired and retired policeman, Deckard (Harrison Ford). He was a Blade Runner, an elite policeman charged with hunting rogue Replicants, androids so perfect that they are virtually indistinguishable from humans, but much stronger. When a group of these Replicants murder their way to Earth, Deckard is brought back from retirement against his will to hunt them down.

 

Los Angeles

Same old weather

 

This hunt takes place in one of the greatest environments created for a film, a sensuous, sullied Los Angeles. As with most of the old crime films this is modeled on, Los Angeles is just as much the star and the story as the actors and the plot. It is a rich pit of a place and the whole of our gritty and grimy tour through its streets is spellbinding with its sullied magnificence… Its settings and characters feel somewhat timeless as a mixture of the 1940’s and “2019”, the great dystopian future of Brazil blended with the dark and damp urban solitude and anonymity of In The Mood for Love.

 

Los Angeles

some things never go out of style

 

Deckard has to be at the top of his detective game as these androids keep separate and have blended with the population. Ford is perfect as Deckard, you can feel his tired resignation, the sense of caring from someone who has forgotten what it means to care. The entry of Sean Young’s character as a love interest with more than the usual set of issues, is the catalyst for a reawakening for Deckard and between her and his targets and the long arm of the law always tapping his shoulder, it is a harrying time. The real problems though come from those determined Replicants. Led by the cunning and cruel Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), this batch of baddies mean business and deal out destruction with no second thought. Ridley Scott is at the top of his game here, a perfect blend of story, action and setting nearly matching the brilliance of his previous film, Alien. Blade Runner also features a great cast of Harrison Ford, Emmet Walsh, my introduction to Rutger Hauer, and the beginning of Daryl Hannah’s career. I was quite pleased with Hauer and Hannah in this, sadly the rest of their careers failed to live up to it. Harrison Ford though, this was his peak era.* This is also the movie that started off the wave of films taken from PK Dick stories. It feels more serious then the ones that followed, and it contains the same focus on questioning identity, memories and personal reality.

 

Los Angeles

more scenery

The movie wins in every way: great direction, visually stunning, intriguing story, Harrison Ford, even the groovy Vangelis soundtrack really works.

The fact that I have one of the original DVD’s releases with a less than wonderful picture quality leads me to think that come their release in December, I may need to get one of the new edition. Hmm, 2 disc, 4 disc or 5 disc?

* In every one of the ten years from 1977-1986 he was in a great film: (77) Star Wars, (78) Force Ten From Navarone, (79) Apocalypse Now, (80) The Empire Strikes Back, (81) The Raiders of the Lost Ark, (82) Blade Runner (83) Return of the Jedi, (84) Temple of Doom, (85) Witness and (86) The Mosquito Coast (and then in 1988 another, Frantic). This is one of the great films of all time, starring the only Hollywood actor I have every really been a fan of in the midst of his golden years. Sadly I lost interest in his career soon after those films. Last Crusade was fun but sort of a silly farce & unneeded (though Sean Connery was very good in it) and then he started those dry political thrillers and all the Jack Ryan stuff.



 

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