Hello people, it’s me Slick Dungeon. I finished watching a movie for my movie challenge checklist and I am here to do a review for it. This part of the challenge was a movie with an ambiguous ending and I decided to go for Blade Runner The Final Cut. Before I get too far into the review I should say there will be major spoilers below. I mean it, I am going to spoil the end of the film so if you have never seen this, I beg you not to read this review until you’ve watched this brilliant film.
Alright skin jobs, still with me? Good. That means you’ve watched this movie before and if you enjoyed it, you’ve got good taste. The film, Blade Runner is loosely based of a work of fiction by Phillip K. Dick originally titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Personally, I love the title of the short story more but it’s tough to sell that to a movie audience. If you know anything about the story or the film you know this is one of the earliest and best examples of cyberpunk. It’s influenced tons of films and television shows. There would be no Altered Carbon (books or tv series) without Blade Runner.
There are a fair number of versions of the film, all with slightly different cuts, with some leaving certain scenes and images in and others taking those out. The final cut version is the version where Ridley Scott (who you probably know from the Alien series) had full control of what ended up in the film. Most of us who enjoy Blade Runner like this cut the best but other versions also have their defenders.
The story of the movie is kind of a noir detective feel but the plot is somewhat simple. A giant and extremely successful corporation has figured out how to make robots so much like humans that they don’t know they are robots. These replicants are put to work in what amounts to slave labor on other worlds. On Earth they are not allowed to exist. While there are still plenty of people on Earth, most citizens are relocating. Only the poorest stay. Meanwhile, a group of these replicants has become self aware and are on Earth to find their makers. The replicants happen to be extremely strong and powerful so the police are authorized to kill replicants on sight, no matter that they are sentient beings with hopes, dreams and feelings. Richard Deckard is what is known as a Blade Runner. These are the cops who are tasked with figuring out who is a replicant and terminating any they find. But wouldn’t you know it, Deckard has a heart and when he meets a woman who is a replicant but doesn’t know it, he falls in love with her.
To fully appreciate the film we do now have to ignore that it takes place in 2019 but for the time this movie was released that was the far future and for all we knew it could have looked that way. The tone and atmosphere of the film is unforgettable with a dark and dreary but teeming with life Los Angeles to the cold and nearly silent Tyrell corporation headquarters.
The crux of the film is the love story between Deckard and Rachael but there are replicants who need to be stopped, at least according to the police. And since they murder people maybe there is an argument to be had there. To tell if anyone is a replicant there is a test called a Voight-Kampff test which can draw out memories and dreams that are implanted from real people into these replicants. How could you tell that your own memory was not your own?
This whole setup brings us into a morally gray world full of interesting and difficult to answer philosophical questions. And there is not necessarily a right answer to these questions at all. Are the replicants unfairly repressed and deserving of more life? Are they nothing but dangerous to humanity?
And the film does not let us as an audience get away with any assumptions either. At one point in the movie Rachael asks if Deckard has ever taken the Voight-Kampff test. He doesn’t answer. We also see him daydream about a unicorn at one point. At the end of the film Deckard is left an origami unicorn, implying that there is the chance that Deckard himself is a replicant. A replicant who is destroying replicants. But there is no certainty to that. It could be nothing more than a coincidence. The film ends brilliantly this way, not giving in to the audience desire for fast answers.
I think beyond the aesthetics, stellar acting, and interesting visuals, it’s this ending that makes this movie so good and is why I give it all five stars.