How far do you think Blade Runner (1991) portrays the film noir style of the 1940s

Topic: Family Formation
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Last updated: April 1, 2019

The director of Blade Runner (Ridley Scott), created a sci-fi film using the film noir style from the 1940s. His film uses the original ‘film noir’ motifs and some that he created himself. The main film noir motif as such that Ridley Scott incorporates into Blade Runner is the use of the film noir characters. Although there are many differences between Deckard and the classic film noir anti hero, he is defiantly the anti hero. He tends to wear the same type of clothe as Sam Spade, (The Maltese Falcons anti hero) the main one is his long trench coat.He also appears to be a loner which tends to be a film noir anti hero trait. The main difference between Sam Spade and Deckard is the fact that Spade is always very sure of himself.

While this is true for most of the film Deckard strays from this track towards the end. This happens especially when Deckard is retiring the replicants and this leaves suspicions of whether or not Deckard really is a human or not. The femme fatale in Blade Runner is Rachel. Rachel is a replicant who has had a ‘memory’ chip implanted in her to allow her to develop emotions and thus rationalize her thoughts.She does not know that she is a replicant until Deckard tells her and this ‘wins over’ Deckard as such and he develops a certain sympathy for her, because of this he does not retire her. Rachel also dresses in the same glamorous way as all film noir femme fatales with large amounts of makeup.

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She is also generally shown with top lighting this is regularly used in film noir films to portray a glamorous person. It can be said that Pris the female replicant could be an evil femme fatale because she uses sex appeal to get what she and ray want.I would like to dismiss this as she does not relate to the main character in the film and thus in my opinion is not a femme fatale.

The visual motifs of film noir are displayed throughout the film. The second scene is of an inquiry going on into the possibility of an android working for the Tyrell Corporation. The blade runner asking the questions looks for involuntary dilation of the pupil in the eye. The questions are also made to invoke a response from the android and this nexus six reacts very violently when he is asked abut his mother, in his blind fit of rage he kills the blade runner and storms out of the building.The first film noir aspect in the film, is the long panning shot over Los Angeles in 2019 it is a huge modern and beautiful city, from above. This shot shows the incredible machinery and technology used in the city, the view from above shows a city that appears to be rather relaxed. When a couple of scenes later the focus moves on to Deckard at the noodle bar the scene is quite different.

At street level it appears that the city is to be decrepit and ageing and really rather grotty in terms of weather. The people walking in the street are also not like other sci-fi films of the time most are just ordinary humans.The street scene shows a very busy area which is a major contrast to the panning shot in the first scene. The noodle bar itself is depicted as a seedy place with much steam coming from the cooked food this is another film noir aspect that was developed really after the film noir era. In the final scenes of the film Deckard is clutching onto the side of the building for dear life with ray (the lead replicant) standing above him. Ray is top lit showing the goodness and glamour that he has inside him whereas Deckard is side lit showing that he has part of his character to hide.This is a film noir lighting effect used to great effect in The Maltese Falcon.

In the Maltese Falcon the director uses the half lit face on Brigid, who is the femme fatale, to portray how two faced she is. In my opinion Ridley Scott uses it to emphasize how Deckard is very uncertain of his life and career. This gives the impression of how ray is totally in control of Deckard’s life at that moment. Thus in conclusion I believe that Ridley Scott portrayed the film noir style a long way while adapting it to form a film that fulfils all the characteristics of a film noir film while making a success-full sci-fi film in its own right.

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