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CULT CLASSIC: LA, 2019

 
 

Cut And Run!!

   

 

  

 

We recently watched, again, the classic Blade Runner…and marveled at how well it has aged, or hasn't!  Ridley Scott's 1982 film set in 2019 Los Angeles is all mood.  But merely mood can become maudlin, purposeless…instead, mood here is integral and finely woven into the very fabric of the film: script, characters, visuals, music, layers of meaning are all part of the haunting aesthetic that permeates, or is, the film.  

The sharp noir-meets-science-fiction script, the stylized cast of characters that are all finely delineated archetypes conveying worlds of meaning with the most minimal of gestures, the barest of lines.  It is, when one thinks of it, a marvelous exercise in minimalism.  Harrison Ford is trench-coat wearing and raffishly handsome blade runner Roy Deckard; there is the beautiful Rachael (Sean Young) who might be a replicant but believes she is human; a foppish Gaff (Edward James Olmos) who is with the police and given to making origami creatures; and a coldly efficient Roy Batty who stops to make poetic declamations (Rutger Hauer). 

 The mood is darkly beautiful: stylish and stylized, the night and rain are atmospheric, a Los Angeles where neon glows through the steam that wafts like slow-burning poetry, large electronic billboards that advertise emigration to off-world colonies, a babel of languages below, architecture that has something heavy and Egyptian about it, the romantic, futuristic music by Vangelis.  And beneath all this, the mille-feuille of metaphysics, meditations on what it is to be human: emotion, empathy, memory, life, death, love.

Roy Deckard is out on a assignment to terminate a band of Nexus 6 replicants, genetically engineered beings who are used as off-world slaves.  6 of them have escaped and are trying to find a way to get around their built-in lifespan of 4 years; the script is inexorable - adventure, love-story, science-fiction seamlessly collaged. 

Dark poetry, recurring images of eyes, the very large, dark, and quite beautiful eyes of Rachael brimming with tears, the icy blue eyes of Rutger Hauer, the watching eyes of an owl that is artificial, a visit to an eye factory; the idea of sight, of seeing, of rain, and tears woven into a silent song.

Perhaps the most famous lines from the film:

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion
I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate
All those... moments will be lost in time... like... tears... in rain

We prefer the Director's Cut, a version without the Harrison Ford voiceover, but we missed the glorious ending of the original version… 

The script to Blade Runner was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples and was loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.           

 

 

See: Blade Runner 

 

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All design and illustration by Anita Itty