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Blade Runner: Genre and Narrative

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Sarah Dalglish

on 5 November 2012

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Transcript of Blade Runner: Genre and Narrative

Blade Runner-Narrative and Genre Blade Runner uses genre hybridity, it combines science fiction with film noir and the police story.

Science Fiction:
It shows us a view of the future; it is set in Los Angeles 2019. It returns to many shots of the gothic/patch-work city. It has a sense of decay and disintegration, it is so over populated that they are trying to encourage people to move to off-world colonies. The black market is a metaphoric Chinatown where anything can be bought and sold as the world has become a giant marketplace. Science Fiction:
There is an encroachment of technology into all areas of life so far that what it means to be human becomes blurred. They can only really know if they are human through an electronic emotional response test.
J.F. Sebastian surrounds himself with cyberpets and has accelerated decrepitude, a wasting away disease. It is like he is a genetic experiment gone wrong. Science Fiction:
Blade Runner has many different visuals relating to science fiction, these include flying cars that are called ‘spinners’. ‘Trafficators’ they direct people and traffic. Advertising blimps are above the city promoting off world colonies. There is acid rain; the sun is blocked out partly due to pollution. There is no difference between night and day. People have to use neon reflectors in their umbrellas to get around.

In the 1980s, there was a rise in media corporate takeovers, the first stories about the hole in the ozone layer and fears about genetic engineering. Asia was considered an economic and cultural threat to hegemony of the west. Migration and immigration were seen as threats to national identity. Blade Runner looks at the oppression of capitalism and supports revolt against it. Film Noir:
Blade Runner has the key visuals and narrative motifs of film noir. This is a genre that emerged in the 1940s. Ridley Scott described the design of as ‘set forty years hence, made in the style of forty years ago’.
Deckard is the weary and alienated ex-cop and is reminiscent of the Humphrey Bogart, Private eye character found in films like The Maltese Falcon (1941). Rachael is the femme fatal, mysterious and sexually dangerous. Film Noir:
All of the central characters in the film have a moral ambiguity which is a feature of film noir, trust, morality and good and evil are blurred in Blade Runner. An example of he is that Deckard kills replicants who he knows have not committed a real crime. He is also arguably a replicant himself so it is like he is killing his own brothers and sisters.
Blade Runner looks like a film noir and seems like one. The plot goes from penthouse apartments to inner city hovels. Forties fashion, the mac worn by Deckard. The chiaroscuro lighting codes, shafts of light break through into dingy interiors and strikes the sides of characters faces to suggest moral uncertainty. Police-Detective Story
Deckard is called back into law enforcement to track down escaped replicants. He follows clues, chases leads and has to solve narrative enigmas. He has a gun and restricted access to data and statistics. Visual Narrative:
A futuristic setting symbolized through the use of technology used by the characters and the modes of transportation. The film does not follow film noir, tension between Deckard (hero) and Rachael (femme fatal) is created however there is little betrayal caused by Rachael. The ending involves a battle between man (Deckard) and machine (Batty) is turned into a fight of machine within mankind as it races towards a digital and genetic age.
Blade Runner shows a side to what being human means and questions the meaning of life the film itself does not give answers to the questions surrounding the narrative Classical Narrative: Classical Hollywood Realism:
Hollywood producers defined the characters as either ‘hero’ or ‘villain’ this is assists in shaping the film to define each character and their goals/ motivations for their actions. Blade Runner pinpoints Deckard as the ‘hero’ his goal for the film is to hunt and retire the returned replicants, while the replicants are deemed as ‘villains’ Roy Batty being the main target due to his desire of revenge upon his creator on this journey Batty has killed 23 people to return to Earth. In a climax ending the battle between good and evil is delivered to produce a end to the characters journey.
On the other hand the line between hero and villain becomes distorted as Batty saves Deckard from falling to his death this questions Batty’s villain title.
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