Luke Stagg’s review published on Letterboxd:
I watched this yesterday and I kept pushing back writing this because I wanted to have time for a full review, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious I won’t have time for that… SO!
I like Alien more. But I may have to admit this is the better-made film. On a technical level, there are few movies as excellent as this. Every single set and background detail, every camera movement, every stream of light, every long shot of streets and air-roads and building interiors. Alien’s pacing is extraordinary but its editing, while meticulous, and while every shot so clearly captures the varying levels of anxiety Ripley feels during her escape from the Nostromo… this movie’s editing is truly unbelievable. No shot is too long or short, no cut is imprecise (yet rarely are they noticeable). This is a very long movie, but you never get bored. My interest never waned once. The world building isn’t shoved in your face, it’s slowly fed to you as Harrison Ford groggily hunts for the Replicants. The third act doesn’t even kick up in pace, but in anxiety, only to end with Deckard and Batty, both in acute and immeasurable pain, on the inside and out, collectively realizing how pointless it is what they’re doing. I mean, it’s beautiful.
Edit: the story is also near-perfect. Complex yet grounded, simple yet expansive. That’s genius sci-fi writing because it’s actually just genius writing. Realized I forgot to talk about the screenplay.
The woman characters kind of suck, though. They’re only enigmas, relying on the decisions of the other men to move their story forward. Whereas Ripley is arguably a perfect character (I would be one to argue that), every character in this that’s not a dude feels like such a step down from her. What’s so weird about Rachel is she serves every purpose for the story perfectly… she just has a fucking lame purpose, which is to come to Deckard for advice, continually only get advice from him and not make decisions for herself (except for the decision to stay with Deckard), and partake in a weird, borderline-assault-y kiss sequence that is only romantic in the minds of creepy guys, I’d hope. Or unless both parties are into that. Ok anyways.
Is it maybe stupid to take off half a star for not even terrible sexism? If that’s my main grievance for a film, does that really prevent it from being perfect, even when I admitted it’s better-made than one of my favorite films? Should I even compare this to Alien?
No, no, and yes. This is my Letterboxd, I do what I want!