It’s no great secret that one of my favorite movies of all time was Blade Runner. It probably doesn’t deserve all the adoration I have for it, regardless of the version (yes, I like the original theatrical cut with the cheesy noir voice-overs as much as I like the other cuts). I was less impressed with the sequel, but then again, what sequel ever matches the magic of the first movie?
Keep in mind, I saw this movie before Neuromancer was deemed a classic, before Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun were born, before the term cyberpunk really had a foothold in the collective consciousness. And it was never the cyber elements that captivated me anyway. It was the whole idea that futures could be dirty and apocalyptic and punk AF. Everything in the 70s it seemed (with a few exceptions) held the future to be clean and sterile and not very broken down at all. I recall more utopic, even when there was dystopic, elements (Logan’s Run, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, even Star Wars, though Lucas did add wear and tear to things). Everything was too damned clean and seemed to be functional. Blade Runner seemed to bring out the grime and grit, the brokenness of what was left behind by those escaping to the stars, the ruins left for those unable to afford to leave a ruined planet. And it also brought to me a truly conflicted morally grey character in Rick Deckard, killer for hire who doesn’t really want to kill, but tries to convince himself you can’t kill an android because it isn’t living (But what of him? Is he living? And Rachel?). And — what if he makes a mistake and kills a human?
I loved Roy, mostly because he just wanted “more life, fucker.” He’s dying, the world completely unfairly stripping him of existence — a true existential crisis — and there is nothing his “god” can do to change it. He’s more human that Rick and it pisses him off. He’s acting out in a way than many of us might act out when left with such an unfair hand. He is each of us who screams “but I’m not ready to die, dammit!”
There are other movies I love on the same level, but it is one of those movies that sticks with me in a way that the others largely don’t. It shaped me in ways that I’m just beginning to realize, and I find it amazing that I can still be discovering these things so many years after the first time I watched it.