Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Blade Runner was released on June 25th, 1983. The film is perceived as one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time. Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Hannibal, Blackhawk Down), Blade Runner is a neo-film noir. Filmed in an urban setting, the film contains an extensive use of shadows and has a somewhat cynical thematic outlook. Blade Runner is loosely based on a novel by Philip K. Dick called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Set in Los Angeles during the year 2019, the film displays a paranoid society that contains elements of the past, present, and future. Corporate buildings are pervasive and symbols of law enforcement consume the viewer. Most significant in the film’s setting is the absence of organic, living things. Commerce and industry dominate the Los Angeles environment. Man’s destruction of the natural environment is easily recognizable from the smog, spewing fireballs and acid rainfall that stain the landscape. Amidst the polluted, urban atmosphere stand mythical temples, space-aged skyscrapers and towering monuments. A melting pot of various ethnicities constitutes Blade Runner’s social makeup. The visual landscape of Los Angeles is perceived as a wretched cradle of artificial life. Anyone who is able to leave Earth’s crumbling ecosystem has already left in favor of the desirable, off-world colonies.

The plot revolves around genetically engineered robots called replicants. Replicants are material commodities produced by the Tyrell Corporation. Indistinguishable from humans, the replicants are not allowed on Earth and were created to perform dangerous labor tasks in the off-world colonies. After several incidents of violence and rebellion in the colonies, four replicants become fugitives from the law. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is responsible for eliminating these replicants that have returned to Earth. Known as a blade runner, Deckard spends the entire narrative hunting the four replicants.

Blade Runner is a cult classic film. Although it failed at the box office, the film is a complex artistic experience. Notorious for its elaborate production design, the film also introduces several social concerns emerging in the twenty-first century. Globalization is demonstrated through the visible dominance of Tyrell Corporation. In addition, the film’s production of replicants relates to society’s political standpoint on genetically engineered human beings.

Blade Runners soundtrack was composed by the musical artist Vangelis. Also composing the score for Chariots of Fire, it is an eerie composition that uses classical instruments with contemporary synthesizers. Importantly, the musical combination parallels and enhances Ridley Scotts overall composition.


Science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick official website:

Film director Ridley Scott on wikipedia:

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