REINVENTING BEAUTY, CHAPTER 1 / DAY 4 -- BLADE RUNNER
It seems only natural to contemplate the movie Blade Runner at this time. It's been raining all day, with the forecast calling for rain tomorrow and parts of Friday. As devotees of the movie will recall, for most of the movie, with the possible exception of interior shots and the original ending, rains falls and falls and falls. No kidding, but when I went to see the movie in 1982 or 1983 at the small movie theatre at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany, it was also raining. There were about four or five viewers other than myself, and after the movie ended, I stood outside under the small canopy watching the rain fall. I remember thinking thought that never before had I been so blown away by a movie, with the possible exception of The Man Who Fell to Earth, and that had been perhaps three years earlier.
Blade Runner effortlessly blends elements of film noir and science fiction. The main character--Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter of sorts, is weary, and wants out of the system; he is forced to accept just one last job-assignment, and in completing this he subsequently destroys the world he knows and his previously held convictions regarding life and love . Against the backdrop of futuristic Los Angeles, good and evil become interchangeable; memory--the marker of one's 'humanity' can be genetically engineered; and questions of mortality and morality float weightlessly throughout the movie's plot and dialogue.
The movie eerily mirrors what contemporary society now faces: omnipresent multinational corporations who influence governments for purposes of profit; security forces, both internal and external, ceaselessly monitor perceived threats with little regard for issues of privacy, and without oversight; the environment is brutally mined for its resources and then discarded as technology demands even more fodder; nature (in the form of animals) is absent, and life-like simulations fill this void; the rich barricade themselves in secluded enclaves while the poor subsist on the barest necessities amongst urban waste and decay.
Dark, brooding, and mysterious (with a terrific soundtrack and wonderful acting), Blade Runner remains a cult favorite, and is definitely on my list of top 10 favorite movies.
PS: The original release, the Directors Cut, and the Final Cut versions are available through Netflix and your local video-store.