A future far from perfect in dark thriller

Harrison Ford confronts his dark side in Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'.
Harrison Ford confronts his dark side in Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'.

One of the cultiest cult films ever, ‘Blade Runner’ ranks as one of director Ridley Scott’s best and brought new depth to Harrison Ford’s career.

Despite its relative lack of success at the box office, it rates highly among sci-fi movies for Scott’s epic vision of a distopian future, stunning production design and dark plot.

Essentially a modern take on film noir, it’s set in Los Angeles in 2019 and follows former police officer Rick Deckard’s (Ford) hunt for four rogue replicants - genetically engineered organic robots. Although used in off-world colonies, replicants are illegal on Earth and, if they return, are hunted down and “retired” by specialist officers such as Deckard, known as Blade Runners.

Although burnt out and reluctant to agree, he is threatened into taking on the job by his former boss Bryant (M Emmet Walsh) who tells him that the replicants, which have a four-year lifespan, have returned possibly to extend their lives.

He sets out to find the four - Leon (Brion James), Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) and Pris (Daryl Hannah) - who have embarked on their own quest to reach Tyrell (Joe Turkel), head of the corporation that made them. Their hope is to force him to give them more life, but as Deckard tracks them down one by one, their plan becomes increasingly desperate.

Although Ford was well down a long list of actors considered for the lead (Robert Mitchum was the writers’ first choice), a recommendation by Steven Spielberg secured him the part and after the lighter roles he played previously, it showed the actor in a new light.

On-set clashes with Scott probably helped to produce his edgy performance, which fits perfectly with the character’s uncertainties. Also worth noting are Rutger Hauer’s and Daryl Hannah’s performances which, combined with mesmerising visuals and more than a nod to the noir genre, lift the film out of the ordinary.