This week I’ll be revealing my top ten favourite films, posting one each day with a few paragraphs about what they mean to me. If anyone wishes to share their favourites I’d be happy to hear from you. Today is #1.
1) Blade Runner (1982)
In my opinion, the greatest film ever made. Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece, based on Philip K Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” sadly lost out to E.T. at the Box Office but is today regarded as a classic. The film’s image of Los Angeles in 2019 AD contains many wonders of technology, with vehicles in the air as much as on the ground, but the skyline is thick with smoke, there’s rain in abundance and neon signs all point to exciting lives away from Earth and out in the Off World colonies. Blade Runner’s bleak view of Los Angeles is refreshingly different to other sci-fi films which share the technological advances but not the same desolation. Earth is clearly for those that are either too ill or cannot afford to seek new lives elsewhere.
It’s no secret Ridley Scott was more focussed on the visuals than his actors but Harrison Ford delivered one of his best performances as Deckard, a retired Blade Runner forced to return to service to hunt down a group of Replicants illegally trespassing on Earth. Led by the generally ruthless but, at times, poignantly gentle, Roy Batty (played brilliantly by Rutger Hauer), the Replicants slot into the traditional role of the baddies that Deckard must hunt down one by one. For me, Blade Runner’s genius is in turning this reliable formula on its head, for once I learned why the Replicants had risked their lives coming to Earth my concept of goodies and baddies changed with Deckard appearing more as the villain.
Blade Runner has at least five versions but the Director’s Cut (1991) is the one I would recommend. Disposing of Harrison Ford’s unnecessary narration in the theatrical release (his unenthusiastic tone a reflection of his own reluctance), the 1991 version made for a more compelling and atmospheric film with the concluding segment having only the sound of rain intruding on Deckard’s reflection at the end of his assignment rather than the pointless voiceover.
There are many wonderful scenes but, for me, one of the best is Batty’s long-awaited meeting with Tyrell, head of the corporation that designed the Replicants. Their lengthy exchange grows ever more desperate as Batty’s hopes of salvation begin to slip away. However, Blade Runner’s defining moment is on the rooftops of Los Angeles amidst heavy rainfall. Deckard and Batty’s final exchange resulting in the latter reflecting vividly on his short life in the colonies and the incredible things he has witnessed is a wonderful end to a truly stunning film.
Top Ten in full
1) Blade Runner (1982)
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