#90 BLADE RUNNER
Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Darryl Hanner, Joanna Cassedy, Brion Jones, M. Emmet Walsh, Joe Turkel, Edward Jones Olmos, William Sanderson, James Hong and Morgan Paul. Written by Hampton Fancer and David Peoples. Directed by Ridley Scott. 116 minutes long.
It's the future, 2019 to be precise, six replicants have escaped off-world and returned to Earth for some unknown reason, ex-Blade Runner, Deckard is press-ganged back on the job to track the skin jobs down and retire them. Along the way he discovers love with an artifical woman and what it truly means to be human from an artificial man, boy imagine the film if those roles had been reversed...
This is an utterly brilliant film and easily in my top ten, indeed it might even be my number one film of all times. I saw it for the first time back in 1982 as part of a special Starburst preview at the Shaftesbury Ave Odeon. The queue stretched around the cinema and so over subscribed was the free screening that the cinema was forced to show it on two screens to meet the demands. I sat in the main cinema, on the left hand side of the auditorium in the middle with my best friend, Rian Hughes. I would discover, many years later that one of my best friends at art college, Dee Block also saw it at the same screening.
Anyway, when the lights went down and the Alan Ladd in association with Sir Run Run Shaw digital tree logo filled the screen, line by line, a tingle flowed up my spine from the small of my back to the nape of neck as all my hairs on my back stood up on end and I knew I would love this film. Two hours later, I left, having experienced an epiphany of sorts, it was such a thrilling and inspiring movie and I've lost count of the number of times I've seen it on TV, on VHS, on DVD, on Blu Ray and re-released at the cinema!
Looking back on 1982 it's incredible what a great, great year for cinema it was, with the likes of: The Thing, ET, Tron, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, Mad Max: The Road Warrior, Conan The Barbarian, Dark Crystal, Android, Basket Case, First Blood, I, The Jury and Megaforce all being released in the same year. But of them all, Blade Runner remains my absolute favourite of that year.
And despite knowing it backwards, indeed I can quote nearly every line, tonight I learned something new about the film, for the past 32 years I had always thought that Roy tells Tyrell that he, 'wants more life, FUCKER!' in answer to Tyrell's question about what he wants. Tonight, I discovered, he actually says: 'I want more life, father.' Now, I think fucker is better, but Pet says 'father' is better. She also thinks the Vangelis music dates the film but I think she's wrong about that too and told her she's on a warning. Let's see who the divorce court agrees with...
Watching it again tonight I was impressed that at no point does Blade Runner make any effort, beyond explaining what a replicant is, to explain the world it's set in, or give us a tour, it's just there right from the offing. Almost as if this was a noir film of the 40s. There's no showboating, no grandstanding special effect shots, just the story and a quick bit of scene setting. If it was made today, we'd have a long lingering shot of the city and dozens of pointless scene-setting shots to show us how amazing the film maker is. Thankfully, we had Ridley Scott who didn't need to show off, he knew he's the dog's bollocks at this stage of his career having already directed Alien.
I remember that when I first saw it, I left feeling that I would have happily sat there and watched another five hours more of the world of Blade Runner, maybe the camera could just have traveled down a few flights of Deckar's tower block and focused on another inhabitant of that world, I'd have been happy.
This is a truly amazing film. Perfect in fact. From the first shot to the last. And since this was the special edition, director's cut so we're left in no doubt that Deckard is a replicant, but then I've known that since I first saw the film. If you've never seen it, go and be amazed and if you have, go back and be reminded of how amazing it truly is. See, it's so good I said amazing three times in the same paragraph and i never do that.