by B.J. Delas Armas
on 3/02/2004 04:27:00 PM
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One Analysis of the One-Time Thriller Bladerunner
The film "Bladerunner" suggests a future handcuffed in technology. And with technology, the society entrenches itself in security. The main character is a police replicant (of which he does not know of himself), a blade runner, seeking to make this futuristic Los Angeles secure by rooting out other replicants, robots genetically made to mimic humans.
This futuristic city portrayed in the movie is reminiscent of Los Angeles outlined by Mike Davis in that all action and excitement occurs within security and in darkened settings. "Action" in the city consists of cutting edge technology and endless parties with impersonal smile-deprived faces. They are having fun and indulging, but nothing is especially outstanding or funny.
It is only when Pris, an escaped replicant, sleeps outside in the trash after not being able to find any other place to sleep that the audience is introduced to a more real outside world beyond this security. She finds refuge on these dark, desolate, and empty streets in the rain outside of that security within the night club. Like in Los Angeles, the poor folk cannot be seen or are ignored, blinded out by the overbearing video ads and amount of flying and grounded vehicles. She, representing the poor folk, is locked outside in this world of concrete and steel barriers, a world indifferent and uncompromising to her struggle. This fake world of security is then established as a world devoid of emotion and feeling.
So devoid of emotion and feeling, the replicant main characters, Decker and Rachael struggle to get and express these human traits of emotions and feelings. Rachael, Pris, and Roy Battty, replicants all chased by one of their own in Decker, are these cyborgs, struggling with identity as either human or machines and painted in Blade runner as the "other." As "others", they are strongly reminiscent of and embody Gomez-Pena's and Gloria Anzaldua's struggle with identity as fully American and fully Mexican in that they do not know how to be fully human or fully machine.
The movie takes a break from fast-paced action and slows down remarkably during these moments of emotion and thus, discovery, highlighting the meaninglessness of security and barriers without original imaginations and feelings to drive this sense of security and barriers in the first place. With emotions charged within these characters, these moments have the effect of making the world real and brings a sense of artificiality into the film.
For example, there is a scene where Decker, the main character, calls Rachael a replicant. She cries thinking that she is really a human to which a confused Decker pulls back and tries to comfort her with a drink. It turns out that she has a memory chip installed into her and really wants to be a human, that is, she wants to feel something. Another scene charged with emotion is when Decker kisses Rachael. It appears to be forced, unsure of on both sides accounting for a bit of comedic relief in the movie, but at the same time desirous to both of them. This scene acts as a suggestion of Decker's own identity as a replicant because of his unorthodox way of showing affection. As a replicant, then, he would become an "other" who has sold his own kind short.
As a blade runner, Decker has enforced this security but without any history of why he has enforced this security. He has no feeling in this job, and as a cyborg replicant himself, he fails to know what human feeling and emotion is. Akin to minorities joining the military, he becomes yet another being participating in an institution that hurts "others" and then he fails to know his effects on those beings till he realizes that he is an "other" and should share those feelings because of its fundamental wrongness.
Labels: Media Discourse