Every now and again I would stumble upon a piece of writing on the internet that proclaimed how cool Blade Runner was. After confirming that it was indeed discussing a movie I had not yet seen, nor had the intention to, I freely went about my day. Other times I would find myself in a group of individuals who would sing the movie praises, but their enthusiasm was not contagious enough. Not even the recent news of Denis Villeneuve directing a sequel in 2016 gave me the needed boost to track a copy down and watch it.
It is now 2 in the morning on a Friday, and I sit in front of my computer and attempt to draw out the proper words to describe what I felt six hours ago when the lights came back on and Blade Runner was no more.
“Somebody start the movie again” would be a good description.
I am really surprised that the film is as popular as it is, mainly because it does not follow the traits of the usual blockbusters. The action scenes, no matter how handsomely mounted, are sporadic; the main character is not an all around kick ass hero, but a lonely middle aged man who barely has his head in the game; its pace and plot progression can be sleep inducing. And while there are certainly weighty issues at play here, like what it means to be human and slavery (this is an inverse slave narrative, where the audience cheers for the masters to recapture its servants), I think part of what made this picture so timeless is the absolute perfect tone and atmosphere that permeate the proceedings from start to finish.
From the falling rain to the look of the dilapidated buildings that ruled the city, this is a film whose production design is as much part of it as the characters are. But a sleek look is not enough to carry a two hour film, so why is it that I admired this so much? I keep going back to the plot, which is fairly routine stuff. But there is something about the way director Ridley Scott chose to portray every development and action that I can’t quite recognize but which makes it work for me. Maybe I yet lack the academic knowledge to describe what it is that Blade Runner does so well. Maybe it’s the fact that I am so accustomed to science fiction movies being loud, explicit and on the surface that, now that I encounter a product so radical, my thoughts cannot be turned into something coherent. Maybe it’s the fact that I want to wrap myself in the neo-noir aura that hangs over every scene and dream of it tonight, just like Deckard (Harrison Ford) dreamt of that unicorn. Maybe its the fact that I am bored of clear cut endings, and this film provided me one that was beautiful, exciting and thought provoking.
Just like my dreams tonight, hopefully.