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Friday 23 June 2017
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HIDDEN GEMS: 9. BLADE RUNNER

HIDDEN GEMS: 9. BLADE RUNNER

Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. This week, Blade Runner.

Following his success as Indiana Jones and Han Solo, Harrison Ford decided to try his hand at the old hard-boiled detective genre, but with a twist – setting it in the future! The oddball result was Blade Runner, a critical and commercial disaster which famously provoked Roger Ebert to do his first review where he stuck both thumbs up his ass to signal his contempt.

Ford plays Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter tasked with finding and killing escaped Replicants who have fled the off-world colonies and have come to Los Angeles to meet their dad. However, the Replicants – led by the enigmatic Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) – are both deadly and disconcertingly human, so much so that Deckard finds himself emotional involved with one, the femme fatale Rachel (Sean Young).

Although it’s difficult to get a copy, do try and hunt out an old VHS if you can. Ridley Scott – famous for White Squall and Someone to Watch Over Me – disowned the cinematic version and then his own director’s cut and then his own final cut, and now refuses to talk about the film, having gone on record saying that it ‘is way worse than Prometheus and Prometheus is a shit sandwich.’  The sci-fi noir is a dark compelling and occasionally violent drama. Ford has never been better, nor has Rutger Hauer, or Sean Young, or Daryl Hannah. Nor Ridley Scott. Scott seems utterly unconcerned with genre as such – this is possibly the least camp Science Fiction film available – giving the world he creates a grubby realism of flickering lights and dirty interiors as well as a grandiose dystopian breadth. With or without unicorns, voice over and happy ending, Blade Runner is a strange new world gone old; the last big budget science fiction film made exclusively for grown ups. At least its obscurity means that no one will be dumb enough to try and make a sequel.

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