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A retired Replicant Hunter is forced to continue his old job. His assignment: eliminate four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have returned to Earth.

Blade Runner, like Alien (1979) before it, shows it’s brilliance located in visual density. The many layers, the infinite surfaces to be encountered and the inexhaustible complexity are unlike many contemporary films. Ridley Scott himself has defined this characteristic method of layering as a film like “a 700-layer cake”(1). The complex urban landscapes need to be actively watched and as in Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey, it emphasises the return of its spectators to their own actions of perception and cognition. Blade Runner is all about vision: “You Nexus, hah?” asks the Asian technician at Eye Works. “I designed your eyes.” and Roy Batty, the replicant answers in ironic amusement. “Well, if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.” – References to eyes never stop in Blade Runner, even the film’s third shot features a huge frame-filling disembodied eye that stares into the distance, the city reflecting inside of it. Throughout most of the film, Jordan Cronenweth bathes the film in darkness. This is mostly to the film’s nighttime setting, but also interiors are generally kept pretty dark by exception of bright flashes of light emitted by flying by spinners or neon advertisements. Darkness helps create the film’s special atmosphere, creating a constant awareness of depth and perspective. Shafts of light rarely serve to reveal, but moreover they suggest life beyond the darkness, life inside the dystopian city environment. The colour palette can clearly be seen as influenced by all the neon lights surrounding this world, suggesting a clear connection between the cyberpunk movement and urban areas of Japan, Korea and Hong Kong.

Cinematographer: JORDAN CRONENWETH
Year: 1982
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Blade Runner
Next Film: Koyaanisqatsi
Previous Film: Children of Men

(1) “Ridley Scott, Director of Alien, Creates Another Science Fiction Masterwork, Blade Runner”, publicity release, p. 2.

January 7, 2018

If you like these Stills, make sure to buy the movie, it is our absolutely highest recommendation.

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