This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Andrew Dignan’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Blade Runner (1982)
Chief take away from this viewing is less a visual one than an emotional/performance-driven appreciation, which is ironic as a) this was the first time I’d ever seen the film projected on 35mm* and b) for all his gifts as a visual stylist, Scott isn’t really thought of as an “actor’s director”. It’s a more sensual film than I’d remembered with all of the Replicant performers (which, I guess, we now have to throw Ford into the mix) treating the emotional limitations of their characters as an opportunity to engage in an incredibly heightened style of acting, one absent any form of self-consciousness, that colors the film in some really fascinating ways. Take, for instance, the film’s third act set in the Bradbury building, which on the surface is just a variation on the hero being chased through a dark apartment by the killer scenario--the scene also highlights Scott’s amusing habit of having his characters damage their surroundings as an opportunity to introduce new forms of atmosphere into his mise-en-scène--which Hauer plays as a deranged Aryan three-year-old, desperate to experience the entire spectrum of “human” emotions one last time. For all its film noir cynicism it’s a film pulsing with the messiness of life and love; I’d forgotten that Roy goes back a second time to kiss Pris’ corpse, even smearing her blood and face paint on his lips which is contrasted with Deckard’s “courtship“ of Rachel that could charitably be called assault-adjacent. And I’m trying to think of another example of where an actress as incomplete as Sean Young is featured in a role that so perfectly complimented their failings, as Rachel does here. It’s too wooden and affected to be considered a great performance but my God, it breaks my heart every time.
*Although I did see the film during its 2007 theatrical rerelease on DCP.