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Blade Runner (Director's Cut)
USA 1982/1991
Directed by Ridley Scott
Running time 117 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Vastly better than the original 1982 studio release which flopped, both commercially and critically, the 1991 Director's Cut version removed both Harrison Ford's redundant voice-over and a tacked-on upbeat ending (which used out-takes from Kubrick's The Shining), elements added by the studio after disastrous test screenings.

This rehabilitated version of what was British director Scott's first fully American film has admirably restored Scott's original darker vision as well as adding a new digital rendition of Vangelis's score. An iconic film in the sci-fi genre Blade Runner stands out primarily for its superb visualization of a dystopian Los Angeles. Much of the credit for this goes to design artist Syd Mead and cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth's Tarkovskian imagery which creates a run-down part garish (much of the neon signage was re-purposed from Coppola's unacknowledged 1982 masterpiece One From The Heart), part gloomy, rain-soaked "retro-futuristic" world (only Terry Gilliam's Brazil,1985 matches its quality) that is remarkable for its depth of detail, The '80s hair and make-up is not quite so effective, particularly for Daryl Hannah..

For a futuristic film noir Harrison Ford is perhaps too decent as Deckard, a rather crass and violent character whose job is "retiring" androids although this version gives us room to inferthat Deckard is himself an android, thus making more plausible the emotional bonding between he and Rachel (Sean Young) another android, which had been a tad ridiculous in the original release. The film offered early roles for both both Hannah and Young who have since had long careers as jobbing actresses.

The film's screenplay by Hampton Fancher, and later supplemented by David Webb Peoples was loosely based on science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. (Apparently neither Peoples nor Scott had read the novel).

FYI:   A 25th anniversary digitally remastered "Final Cut" version was released in 2007 that is the only version fully authorized by Scott who did not actually work on the 1991 Director's Cut

 

 

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