Blade Runner, a well known 80’s science-fiction film, begins in 2019,
set in the industrial city of L.A., the scene lit only by the many
neon lights and molten guisers. We draw in from a panoramic long shot
to Deckard, ‘ex-cop, ex-killer, ex-blade-runner’, who is at the heart
of this film.
Blade Runner is, definitively, a science fiction film, but the traits
of Film Noir are the bread and butter, bringing it the dark, desperate
atmosphere that is the very beauty of the film. Ridley Scott plants
shrapnels of Film Noir throughout, from the subtle (cigars), to the
downright blatant (the washed-up cop of main man).
The genre itself developed in the post-war era, thriving upon the
depression that had settled upon the world, and the new technology.
The latter meant that scenes could be filmed outside of a studio, and
new effects could be created with lighting. However, though the new
technology was there, the after-math of the war meant that this
equipment was often quite rare, leading to the lower budget films
opting for stark, shadowy sets rather than miss out on the technology.
But this type of setting fitted perfectly into the style of Film Noir
anyway, as the feeling of the genre was reflecting the current mood,
which was far from happy.
The war had left some blind, and everyone else with brand new eyes,
people could no longer see everything at face value, or to put it
bluntly, the value of face had slumped. The world after war was no
place for the frilly and meaningless, and Hollywood, as the capital of
frill, had to come up with something new, and refreshingly...
... middle of paper ...
...th Deckard ‘why am I called back?
Why am I doing this?’
and the replicants can ask, ‘why am I a replicant, why am I like
The answer of course, the bitter sentiment of Film Noir, ‘for no
reason at all.’ The viewer watches Blade Runner’s characters like fish
in a tank, with pity because they are trapped, and with resignation,
because they’ll never, really, get out.
The fusion of Sci-Fi and Film Noir works perfectly in Blade Runner,
using the past to paint a (dismal) picture of the future. The
combination was one of the first of it’s kind, pulling two genres
together to work in perfect unison. And this combination of Sci-Fi and
Film Noir will continue to work because the future is unseen, and
therefore to us, quite scary, and, as in typical Film Noir fashion,
there’s always ‘something BAD out there…’
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