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Blade Runner redux

Watced the final cut of Blade Runner tonight, the apparently final version of a movie I haven’t seen for many years. It holds up now as one of the supremely “pure” science fiction movies ever made, and very much as an “art film” as well.

As good as it is, it’s also kind of easy to see how it wasn’t that commercially successful when it was first released. Not to mention the fact that many of the ideas in it were very foreign 25 years ago, yet much more familar and even real now. Both in genre terms — we’re much more familiar with robotics and dark futures now, but also in real terms — the world looks a little more like Blade Runner, both for good and bad.

It’s a well-made movie, with supreme futuristic designs by Syd Mead, and effects that work effectively for their time led by Douglas Trumball. It’s an amazingly dark movie — not a single daylight scene, and location shooting such as at the famed Bradbury Building in Los Angeles works well also. Very much te definition of detective film noir, with that wonderful science fiction backing.

The cast just works — Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah and others doing some of their best work. The inhabit their roles in a way quite distinct from anything else they’ve done.

It’s just an amazing mesmerising, hypnotic, almost zen-like movie. I do wonder what people thought of it when it first appeared, having no context or links as it does now. But it’s been through so many different versions I guess that it’s hard to say. Hopefully this final version is set now.

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