17 year old writer Nathan Hardisty has published a superb 130 page essay on Blade Runner, titled ‘Tears in Rain’ on his blog. I really do recommend you give it a read.
You can download the PDF from this page here, but below are a couple of snippets.
In a weird sort of way, the film asks who we should be cheering on: the humans or the replicants? I’m not exactly thrilled when Deckard chases after some Replicant trying to make her way in the world, and then shoots her in the back. Yes, she’s done terrible things, but I don’t think she’s deserving of being shot to death. Deckard simply carries the “I only enforce the rules” excuse as he wanders over the broken glass and looks at Zhora’s corpse.
As a hero, Deckard fails out of the gate. As an anti-hero, he succeeds in every way but that isn’t exactly a good thing. He is inhuman, he remains unchanged for the vast majority of the film and the reflections he takes upon his humanity are any revealed towards the end. He changes, eventually, but it takes quite a lot of inhumanity to throw him into a new state of mind.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set in a dead, dead world. It is not of Orwellian like heights or filled with minutia or human filth; it is a world after a war. It is a world where power is scarce, in which there is no real ‘Big Brother’ but there is power out of both order and chaos of this world.
Naturally then Blade Runner, as all artistic endeavours usually are about, includes a complex exploration of the nature of power. This coupled with the existence of two ‘humanities’ (Replicant and Human) makes for a change of pace in the usual exploration of power. I feel that this world is one devoid of God in the supernatural sense, but of course, power carries on.
The film even begins as two characters, Holden and Leon, wrestle over the conversation. Leon keeps questioning the questions as Holden continues to try and probe Leon with the Voight-Kampff test. There’s a very clear gap here between the two, man and machine. Holden’s power lies in his occupation, a blade runner himself, whereas Leon relies upon more brute force methods.
leon wins, naturally, and sets off the film’s storyline. Already we have a swing of power in the Replicant’s favour and from then on it seems like the pendulum doesn’t come back. We pick up the story on Deckard, a retired blade runner, who sits around all alone watching the sheep walk by. Already we have some display of power from decade, at least socially, he seems to have evolved from the basic docile template the citizens are all about. He’s aware.
Knowledge is power.
Anyway, it’s a great piece, and very well thought out. Do yourself a favour and download it.