The film “Blade Runner” fits the perfect description of film noir with a little bit of a sci-fi twist. Some of the most distinguishing factors of film noir is cynicism and dark lighting which this film definitely has. The makeup and costumes play a very crucial role in expressing these dark features of film noir. Although the replicates have blonde hair they are pale and evil looking, some with dark black paint around their eyes to add to their scary demeanor. The replicates were very evil looking and even when they smiled it was a lot more creepy and demonic then jolly and cheerful. Another prevalent quality of film noir is the roll of alcohol. As we all know alcohol can go hand in hand with cynicism and in this film it plays a vital roll in expressing the mood of Decker. Anytime he is in distress he turns to alcohol because of the lonely nature of his life. After the scene where he kills the stripper we see him buying alcohol from a street vendor and proceeding to drink himself to sleep.
Another important characteristic of film noir is that the protagonist often seems in a desperate situation a lot like in this film. In his distress he turns to the aid of a robot to help his loneliness. Even though they end up falling in love they are both an emotional mess. Decker is very near death at multiple times in this film and he always somehow survives. The lighting is another vital attribute of film noir is the lighting of the scenes. The scenes always have a dim natural lighting with an unknowns source to add to the dreariness of the overall film mood. Overall the film was very entertaining and it was very interesting how the director predicted a futuristic world that we are only five years away from. What is also interesting is that the prediction of the future is so pessimistic. A world was predicted where we overuse technology to a point where it becomes self destructive. It also is a world that is destroyed by pollution and the streets are grim and over populated with homeless people and assumed drug addicts. This is what makes the film noir. It is a very pessimistic way to look at the future as a time that is worse than the present.
Unlike most film-noir movies, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner takes place in a futuristic, dystopian wasteland. Just as discussed in class with Django Unchained, this film seems to be a combination of two different genres. It is a film-noir mystery, having much in common with older film-noir masterpieces of the 1940s and 1950s, but it also has a sic-fi spin on it, and the combination of the two genres in one film work together to create a unique picture.
The cinematography of Blade Runner is very characteristic of film-noir, using smoke, side lighting to create shadows, and framing to create suspense, and to draw interest from the audience around the mystery. Ridley Scott sets almost every scene of the film at night, and does this to create the eerie, unsettling effect that the film-noir genre aims to create. Scott also uses weather to create a dreary, dark, damp diagetic world; it is always raining, and there is always heavy fog. Finally, the lighting is shined from the side in most shots, creating silhouettes and shadows among most of the characters, especially with scenes in alleys or dark places like that. This is also commonplace for film-noir, reminiscent of The Third Man and basically the whole catalogue of Humphrey Bogart films.
Despite all this talk of film-noir, Blade Runner is considered by some to not even be a film-noir. Truth be told, it is a hybrid film, combining the cinematography of film-noir with the plastics of science fiction. The film takes place in a futuristic, dystopian wasteland, where technology is very advanced. Flying cars, or “spinners” are omnipresent throughout the film, and the costumes and outfits are far-fetched and futuristic. Plus, the technological effects, which where extremely advanced at the time, still influence and set the benchmark for science fiction films today.
Ridley Scott, a director of mainly science fiction films combines the genre of film-noir with his tool box of sci-fi “awesomeness”. When I think of film-noir, I think of the 40’s and 50’s classics such as Double Indemnity which is one of my favorite Billy Wilder films. The beauty of Blade Runner is how it transformed the genre of Old School Noir into Neo-Noir. The uses of light only emphasize mystery and uncertainty like most Film-Noir movies. The colored lighting is something I have never seen before because typically Film-Noir movies tend to be in black and white not just because of the time it was made but due to the way shadows can be played with and manipulated. Despite implementing many revolutionary aspects to the genre of Noir, it also held true to many tendencies that film noir incorporates.
Film-Noir has its roots in the German Expressionism movement and the sets of Blade Runner proved that the roots are still firmly in place. The use of props also made this film feel like a homage to the Film-Noir genre using trench coats, fedoras, and cigarettes. There was one shot that stuck with me that I thought was absolutely beautiful, and that was a dissolve from a puff of cigarette smoke. Ridley Scott stayed true to Film Noir by the interplay of sets, props and low key lighting.
Blade Runner was also a very influential early science fiction film also. After the initial release of Star Wars in the 1970’s the interplay between an older genre of Noir and a rapidly evolving genre of science fiction satisfied and even wowed movie goers. The elements of science fiction can be seen all around from the face LED Billboards on buildings to the hovering police crafts to the advanced guns that the characters were armed with as well as the story.
Bladerunner immediately reminded me of the city of Coruscant in Star Wars Attack of the Clones. The setting was almost identical, with the tall, geometric buildings with lots of lights, the flying vehicles, and the crowded city. After watching Blade Runner I realized how influential it was on many sci-fi and film noir movies.
The lighting of this film is very characteristic of a film noir movie. All of the lighting in this movie is low-key. This plays up contrast and accentuates shadows. The shadows were very dramatic, and you could even see the shadows of window blinds or other objects on the character’s faces. Most of the settings were very dark, with most of the lights coming from windows or buildings. The dark setting makes the film seem more mysterious and unpredictable, which contributes to the aspects of a film noir.
The music of this film contributed more to the sci-fi aspect of the film. Much of the sound was extra-diegetic and reflected the style of 80’s music when the movie came out. The music was often very loud and dramatic, which, paired with a thrilling action scene or mysterious scene, heightens emotion and makes the moment more suspenseful. Sometimes the extra-digetic music would overlap with the diegetic music. For instance, when Rachael is at Deckard’s apartment, she starts playing the piano, and then extra-diegetic music plays at the same time. The sound is this film contributed to the aspects of both sci-fi and film noir.
One aspect of the film that stood out to me was the rain. It seemed to rain a lot throughout this film. The rain gives the film a more ominous, gloomy feel and is also used as a foreshadowing mechanism. Typically, we know something bad or suspenseful is about to happen if it is raining.
Blade Runner is undoubtedly one of the better films we have watched in class throughout the year told in a sci-fi setting with film noir stylistic elements.
The most obvious of which is of course the style of lighting. In Blade Runner, lighting is sourced from side lights that creates a a very shadowy setting. Majority of scenes are lit as if it is night and deliver a bleak tone characteristic of film noir. Another application of the dreary lighting, is the shadowy nature of the background, especially compared to the characters, whom of which are still shrouded amongst the darkness, delivering a feeling hopelessness and dreariness also commonly seen in film noir. There is very little contrast in the film, which heightens the dark tones of a film noir. This is most notably seen in the scene where Deckard is with Bryant discussing the rogue Replicants.
Framing and cinematography play huge roles in film noir. As seen in the film, framing of scenes places great sense of the bleak undertones as seen in the conservative and unassuming expressions of characters, especially those of the protagonist. Action is not solely directed by character’s movements, but more so in the hands of the movements and framing of the camera and scene.
The themes characteristic of film noir is most definitely seen in Blade Runner. Extremely dark and often bleak and hopeless future and loss where characters can take solace only in the past.
Of course the presence of rain is a common attachment seen in film noir, as it almosts directs and intensifies with the drama of the film. In Blade Runner, rain could be seen in almost every scene where death would be abound and inevitable. Or in scenes where extremely dreary messages would be delivered, especially in the case of Roy’s line where he likens memories as fleeting and lost as tears in rain.
Blade Runner does a very good job of sticking to its genre “film noir,” although as discussed in class, this genre is still under debate. Film noir films usually have a dark, unsettling feel to them. It attracts its viewers (or at least me) through its mysterious, eerie mise- en-scene which emphasize the dark mood and tonality of the film.
In Blade Runner we notice the constant rain fall on the city, day and night (even though the two are highly undistinguishable), along with low key lighting given by the dark rain filled clouds (or maybe heavy pollution?). These two elements within the film play into the sense of hopelessness the viewer picks up as the movie plays. In the movie, Deckard is searched upon by the police force to hunt and destroy replicants who have diverged from their intended purpose and come to earth seeking more than just the “life” they were designed to live. Most of the film if not all of it, no characters are given more importance than others through means of angles or lighting. I believe this adds on to the unsettling feeling of being ambiguous as to who to root for.
Although that may sound confusing think about it this way. Who really is the bad guy? Or good guy? Deckard for shooting and killing these robots who have caused harm upon human beings and disobeying their orders? Tyrell for creating these robots with extraordinary power to conduct operations impossible by a single human being? Or the robot itself, for being built “more human than human” and wondering how to expand its life span and completely mirror its creator, a human being. I believe the answer is NO. No, none of them are good or bad.
Scott does a wonderful job by using this genre to portray the inevitable end of any life-form, death. The fatalistic theme in the film beautifully portrays the characters illumination that everything has an end.
But to end on a lighter note, you would think after all those years, Coca-Cola would have changed its logo. Now thats a classic.
Blade Runner perfectly exemplifies what we’ve been talking about in class regarding both playing into and against genre, as well as mixing genres. It shows many of the classic elements of film noir while also exploring more genres such as sci-fi, allowing the film to give a more versatile viewing experience.
Blade Runner plays into film noir in many ways, and many of these are described in detail by Paul Schrader in the reading from FT&C. Perhaps the most notable of all of these is the effects of lighting employed to create shadows and imply nighttime. Though obviously some of the movie probably took place during the day, almost all of the scenes are not only darkly lit from within the room, but also evoke a sense of occurring when the sun is not up. In another similarly related way, film noir echoes some elements of German Expressionism; obscure lighting never fully frames any of the characters and creates heavy shadows. Also, many noir films feature more commonplace sets and costumes; contrary to this, Blade Runner more effectively reflects Expressionism, with its highly stylized city and futuristic costumes. Finally, water is heavily prevalent in a standard film noir, as we have in Blade Runner. There is always a heavy downpour occurring outside, and water even plays a role inside buildings. In the climactic sequence, water is running down the wall between Deckard and Roy, and in other sequences inside the same house, water is on some of the floors.
One main theme of film noir is displayed many times over: hopelessness. Pris sleeps in a pile of garbage, Sebastian lives eternally alone with a bunch of animated yet not living dolls, Deckard loses his only gun in a fight with one of the Replicants and Deckard and Rachel have no hope of a future together. The fact that the Replicants only have four years to live and no way to fight this fact really solidifies the hopelessness that film noir finds so appealing.
Ridley Scott uses elements of Sci-Fi and film noir to create a thought provoking and entertaining film in Bladerunner.
The setting itself is purely science fiction, and as an iconic movie of the 80’s, Bladerunner set the literal stage for future movies of that genre. One that comes to mind immediately is the city in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. This is especially apt due to the presence of flying vehicles, crowded streets and skies, an overabundance of neon lights, and a sense of gloom often emphasized by rain. The very first image we get of 2019 Los Angeles is dark buildings and imposing skyscrapers emitting spurts of flame. This already lets us know that this perceived future is not a happy place and sets the tone for the rest of the movie. As the dark music gives way to more grandiose music, we are then (not so subtly) shown the glowing Mayan-temple like building in the center of the city, where we can assume much of the plot will stem from.
As far as the film noir aspect, this film definitely falls under that category as well. The gloomy city scape with dark, dirty alleys, the constant rain and apparent lack of sunshine, and the interplay between light and shadows are all characteristic of film noir, especially American style. The plot also follows the type, with the reluctant hero (Ford) called on to do the work of the higher ups, given enough details to do his job, but not enough to realize the bigger picture. Ford himself is donned with the classic trenchcoat, permanent scowl, snarky wit, and personality flaws generally associated with the heros (often times detectives or police officers) of these types of films. There is also the influence of the femme fatal, or “fatal woman”, although it could be argued that there were actually three.
Just as the movie’s futuristic synthesized jazz backing track suggests, Bladerunner is a mixed genre piece, fusing elements of film noir into the backdrop of a science fiction dystopia.
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner certainly exhibits many of the elements that give the film noir genre its unique mood and style. In the film, the lighting and play of shadows serve to give the setting its essential noir mood. With the use of what appears as natural light and shadows casted upon by any nook and cranny created by the film’s complex setting, Scott is able to set an uneasy and mysterious mood to each scene.
As already examined in the lighting, film noir serves to give its viewers an uneasy mood. The film uses rain to do just that by portraying many of the actions and deaths outside when it is present. The eccentric setting itself also carries out this mood as it takes place in a lively future Los Angeles. However, the city is ultimately cold and almost inhumane.
Perhaps the result of combining the genres of noir and sci-fi, the clothing that specifically Deckard and Rachael wear seems out of tune with the futuristic setting that the film takes place in. Instead, their clothes look as if they were taken straight from a noir film of the early twentieth century. This yet again adds on to the vibe of the film.
Also common in many noir works, the theme of femme fatale is evident as well in the film. This idea continues on with the notion of latent sexuality that the film at times evokes. For example, prior to when Deckard kills the first woman replicant, he is distracted by her seduction of him, which leads to her almost killing him. Although they should not be trusted, women that convey this quality seem to always lead the male protagonist to danger. The film’s abrupt ending leaves this notion open because the viewers do not know if Rachael can truly be trusted or even what will happen next. In any case, at its core, Blade Runner is truly film noir and serves to show the originality that genre mixing and film can still have.
The film Blade Runner was definitely one of the more interesting movies of this semester, despite it being a movie of the film noir genre. It most definitely fell under the film noir genre though, which was proven through the many downfalls of each character throughout the movie. The first victim was Rachel, whom, although she ends up living to see the end of the movie, found out that she was a replicant and that all of her beloved memories were implanted into her brain. Another character who held true to the cliché that no good deed goes unpunished was Sebastian. He helped Pris, who seemed to be a hooker but was actually a replicant. This resulted in him watching a man’s skull crushed until he died and then was killed himself by Pris’s other replicant friend Roy. The audience does not have to feel sorry for Sebastian too long as Pris is soon avenged by the blade runner himself, Deckard. No one can catch a break though – soon after Pris’s death Deckard has his fingers broken and is fearfully chased down by Roy. The fight ends when Roy dies as replicants are only allowed four years to live. The idea spoken by Tyrell, the creator of the replicants, which made this life-span justifiable, was that “the candles that burn twice as bright burn half as long”. This can be applied to real life as well although it is a rather depressing way to think.
This movie was very cynical and melodramatic with every scene bringing a new sort of dismay to the characters in it. However, the futuristic setting and complexity of the plot made it very interesting and enjoyable to watch. I definitely think that iRobot was based off of this movie because there were a lot of similarities with the story line and the setting.