One of cinema’s most vividly realised dystopias, the Los Angeles of Blade Runner is a nightmare cityscape of towering skyscrapers, vast advertising holograms and perpetual rain. Three years after the deep-space horror of Alien (1979), Ridley Scott imagined an urban future to rival Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The ghost of Raymond Chandler’s bygone LA haunts its story of a Marlowe-like former detective (Harrison Ford) assigned to track down escaped ‘replicants’ – biologically engineered beings employed as slaves by their human masters.
Initially a critical and commercial flop, Blade Runner developed a huge cult following. Countless science-fiction blockbusters have tried to replicate it, but Scott’s original retains an unrepeatable intrigue in the central ambiguity of Deckard’s own identity.
“Science-fiction cinema is transformed forever in the furnace of production design.” Nigel Andrews
“Blade Runner distils the iconographies of dystopian science-fiction and transmogrifies them to produce the blueprint for seemingly every example of the genre to follow. As we have moved into the digital age and passed 2019, the year the film is set, Blade Runner’s analogue materiality now looks thoroughly retro-dystopian. But our deepest anxieties about the integrity of the self, our technology-constituted experience, environmental apocalypse and a polarised society in extremis have never felt more relevant.” Dario Llinares
“Lawrence G. Paull’s cityscapes, Jordan Cronenweth’s cinematography, Vangelis’s electronic score and Rutger Hauer’s soulful android were all astonishing innovations that redefined movie sci-fi.” Andy Lea