Blade Runner (1982) Directed by Ridley Scott
Blade Runner takes me back to a time when I was making my first record. We were recording in Brixton where Depeche Mode had made their first album. The producer of the record was this Irish guy who absolutely loved Blade Runner and insisted I see it. He played in one of these sub-U2 bands of the time who got quite popular. The record when it eventually came out did pretty OK and it was my start on a long road in music that I'm still traveling. I associate the film with quitting college, unemployment, playing gigs at the Marquee club, New Order (the band), Philip K. Dick and William Burroughs, Thatcher, record deals and Italy winning the world cup and other things that were happening in my life as a 17 year old. So Blade Runner has had a personal significance to me ever since I first saw it. It's easily amongst my favorite films.
There have been various versions of the film released (the original version had a Harrison Ford voice over in homage to Philip Marlowe), but this is the final cut of the movie and probably the most satisfying. It's interesting that the film is set in 2019, only 9 years away from now, yet we are still so far away from this world. We are not as advanced technically as Blade Runner suggests, so obviously in 1982 the filmmakers thought it still possible that advances in space travel would happen, yet damage to the environment (LA is permanently rainy and gray in Blade Runner) would send us back to the literal dark ages. Could still happen within 9 years.
Yes, this is a weird downer sci -fi, but the film is deeper than that suggests and still stands up because of it's emotional quality. It's could also be a Los Angeles noir and sits comfortably next to pictures like L.A. Confidential, Chinatown and The Long Goodbye. The hunted replicants (very advanced genetically engineered life-like robots) display a bigger desire for life than many of the cynical humans in this film. Fords' performance is perfect as Deckard the Blade runner of the title who's job it is to hunt down and retire the replicants. Deckard is as weary and vulnerable as anyone here. There is a suggestion in this new version of the film that Deckard is a replicant himself, related to a dream of a unicorn and a found origami unicorn. Interpret this as you will. Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and the Vangelis score. All magic.
Scott smartly keeps this world grounded in familiarity, we recognize a lot of these surroundings. The sets and effects, pre-CGI still stand up and the movie looks better than ever. But the moving denouement, Rutger Hauer's replicant Roy on the rooftop in the rain with the white dove waiting to die. He teaches Deckard a lesson in humility and in the preciousness of life that we all take for granted. It's a mighty moment in film, and I'll carry it with me forever.