In anticipation of the release of Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, the Landmark Cinema at the Pen Centre is offering a one-off screening of Ridley Scott’s 1982 original Blade Runner, Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.
The film (based on Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) follows Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former Blade Runner; he tracks down awol replicants, androids created to work hard labour, who go rogue in search of a life of their own. When four highly dangerous replicants return to Earth, Deckard is tasked with hunting them down. The hunt takes him through the sprawling world of tomorrow, an ugly, neon-ridden vision of 2019’s Los Angeles.
Blade Runner is a cultural landmark; its aesthetic (which merged a brilliantly realised futuristic landscape with the tension and ambience of film noir) is unmatched by any other film. It’s score, realised in all of its synthetic beauty by the legendary Vangelis, perfectly underpins the mood of the film. But perhaps most fascinating are its philosophical implications; the film asks deep and complicated questions about what it means to be human. The line between human and replicant blurs with every turn; in fact, one of the most endearing debates about the film is whether or not Deckard himself is a replicant; a debate Villeneuve promises 2049 will tap into, but not answer definitively. The opening scene, in which a replicant is interrogated to see if he feels empathy, is as powerful as it is deeply uncomfortable. Batty’s powerful speech at the end of the movie will never leave you. Depending on the version of the film, the weird unicorn daydream somewhere in the middle will confuse you. But all in all, Blade Runner is an undisputable masterpiece, and lays fertile ground upon which to build an expansive sequel.