Thursday, October 12, 2006


Ridley Scott's iconic film Blade Runner was the perfect film at the perfect time and place, even if that time and place was not ready for it. Coming out approximately at the same time as William Gibson 's novel Neuromancer which is widely credited with creating the entire cyberpunk movement, the movie had its share of troubles and growing pains - a rumoured 12 re-writes on the screenplay- and with the exception of really only one scene ("Is this testing whether I'm a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?") barely resembles the original novel by Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?).

The story is simple; the year is 2019. Rick Deckard, a detective specializing in tracking down and 'retiring' rogue replicants (genetically engineered humans) is recruited to do just that for several of the latest-models who escaped from the offworld colonies and are hiding out on a dilapitated urbanized section of earth (Los Angeles). Over the course of this investigation, Deckards career, his beliefs (or prejudices) and even his humanity are put to the test, both from his prey and the replicant corporations rich owner and his mysterious daughter.

Like most great science fiction films, it was misunderstood at the time of original release, but that did not stop the film from re-defining the visual aesthetic of sci-fi film moving from a crisp clean positive future where everything is minimal (see THX 1138 , 2001: A Space Odyssey , Logan's Run, etc.) to a mismashed chaotic urban sprawl where nothing is clean, planned or makes sense, including the language. It is as if technology and society just grew from the 20th century without purpose, a guiding morality, and certainly for the worse. Without Blade Runner there would be no The Matrix or Serenity, at least not visually. The other major innovation here (although not 100% new, Jean-Luc Godard did it first with Alphaville) is the blend of film noir conventions with sci-fi elements. Rick Dekkard is the classic hard-boiled detective loner who straddles the high and low and ostracized of society while working the investigation. Rachel is the epitome of femme fatale, complete with cigarette, a 1940s coiffure, a mysterious air and some serious issues.

Through a combination of all the actors giving top-shelf performances (including a host of great character actors in small parts) to wonderful score from synth-rock outfit Vangelis, to the pulpy execution blended with one part Dick-ian paranoia, one part Jung-ian philosophy, Blade Runner has survived several theatrical versions, directors cuts and the like to become one of the true canonical science fiction films.

Come out Thursday October 12 to enjoy the 1992 Directors Cut version of Blade Runner, recently remastered. It is truly one of those films which suffers on a small screen, and while I'm no full blown Cinema, this should be a fine hold-over until the re-release this in theatres. Drinks at 8pm. Trailers and Showtime at 8:30pm.


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