Blade Runner is one of – if not the – most popular sci-fi movie ever made.
It’s a rare blend of remarkable, thought-provoking story (thanks to Philip K. Dick’s brilliant Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), pulpy action and gritty noir, all presented in a gorgeously realised, futuristic version of Los Angeles.
Comprising all of these elements is no mean feat, but Blade Runner does so in the most seamless of manners, and even almost 40 years on, it still manages to defiantly command a sense of awe from its audience.
Its neon-soaked visuals have since become synonymous with the iconic title, but there’s so much more to Blade Runner than the flashes of imagined futurism. In fact, all of Blade Runner‘s visuals evoke a sense of incredible depth; there’s hardly a single moment in which you don’t fully believe in this over-crowded, neglected metropolis and the weird and wonderful characters that fill it.
There’s a level of ambiguity to the movie (let’s all pretend the weird narration in the Theatricul Cut never happened), and while that might leave a bad taste in the mouths of some, it’s exactly that refusal to hold the audience’s hand that makes Blade Runner such a singular experience.
While Harrison Ford’s performance is not without merit, Rutger Hauer absolutely steals the show as Roy Batty, and as we watch the character’s immaturity and instability at constant odds with one another it’s hard to decide exactly how we feel about him. He’s menacing from beginning to end, but there’s so many subtleties to Hauer’s performance that bring a twisted sense of humanity to the Replicant, which alone is enough to sell the movie’s core premise:what is humanity?
Cinematically, Blade Runner is a masterpiece. It’s the sort of movie that’s hard to look away from, and with every viewing you notice some new, tiny detail that raises even more questions. It’s a testament to the art of visual storytelling, which does lead to moments in which the actual storytelling seems to take a back seat; Deckard, despite being the protagonist, feels much less fleshed out than the movie’s other characters, and is by far the least interesting member of the main cast.
Blade Runner is a classic for a reason, and it’s more than withstood the test of time.
Summary: A gorgeously imagined and realised movie, Blade Runner is a visual feast filled with some of the grittiest – yet still somehow colourful – characters in all of cinema, brought to life with remarkable depth.