Movie Review: Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Just think, in only five more years LA will transform into something neot-ech. After all, we’re supposed to have hoverboards next year according to Back to the Future Part II; but I digress.

A burnt-out detective takes on an assignment that involves retiring replicants after they illegally return to Earth.

First impressions of a film are irreversible. This can be difficult when more than one version of the film exists, like Donnie Darko or THX 1138. I was told a year or so ago that the only version of this film I should see is The Final Cut. That vanished from my memory when I found a copy of Blade Runner at my library during my sophomore winter break. When the conversation came up months later, I wondered if I saw the right one. Sure enough, I did. To this date, this is the only version I’ve seen even though I own a first-run Director’s Cut on DVD and a domestic/international print (the box is in terrible condition) on VHS.

The environment is very immersive to the point where I felt cold and wet from all of the rain shown. The low-key lighting complements the derelict sets. There is nothing clean about any part of the set; everything looks and feels used.

Before I even saw the film, I had heard several pieces on Pandora. I had grown accustomed to rhythm and flow but was surprised to hear them severely truncated in the film during my initial viewing. I have the soundtrack in my car whenever there’s a rainy day (fitting, indeed).

I have heard some people comment, primarily negatively, on the slow pacing. I don’t have a problem with it. For me, I use 2001: A Space Odyssey as a benchmark for runtime. I should be able to grasp broad concepts in the time allotted while still leave information I can analyze upon repeated viewings. With films like this and 2001, the pace is appropriate. If it were any faster, subtext would be missing as well as some key points.

I would like to focus on the questions used with the Voight-Kampff machine that determines whether or not a subject is a replicant. On the surface, they seem like they have obvious answers. Other times, there may be a specific answer that could only be given as a programmed response. When watching the first Deckard/Rachel interrogation with the Voight-Kampff, Rachel responded rather quickly. The response time provided means that she can either be a human who had access to the question key beforehand or a replicant programmed with the information from the key.

Assuming the second half is true, I feel like a replicant (at least the concept) at times. I may look human and provide some kind of response but it doesn’t always feel real. It takes a lot of mental effort to function a certain way and pass as “normal”. Even Rachel asks Deckard if he even took the test, only to be given no response. It seems only fair if the test is adminstered to those who will proctor it later on.

Originally, I had planned to review every single print available and list the differences. I changed my mind, mostly because it’s been done (complete list here). Also, the 1001 list doesn’t specify which print should be viewed. Consider this my sole review for the film.

Not everyone will like this film, I get that. There are enough thrills and content to satisfy anyone looking for a serious film. If you haven’t seen this yet, I strongly recommend watching The Final Cut before anything else.

8/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection

IMDB Top 250

AFI Top 100 (2007): #97

400 Nominations for AFI Top 100 for both years

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