Based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Blade Runner has had a confusing history of different versions since its original 1982 opening. There was the cut that featured narration that tried to mimic the golden age of Film Noir, and failed to catch its poetry and cadence. Harrison Ford's otherwise impressive voice was all wrong in its quest to mimic the gumshoe pulp parlance. Unfortunately, this is how most people first met this film. The so-called happy ending that version had also did not make too much sense given the downbeat look and feel of the rest of the film. A 1992 director's cut that eliminated the narration and the happy ending started to make new disciples of some critics that had orginally panned the film. A 2007 theatrical showing of what Mr. Scott calls "The Final Cut" finally brought this film into the realm of masterpiece. It only took two decades!
The most impressive aspect of Ryan Gosling's character is the way he is able to make us believe that androids harbor feelings. This android knows that he is merely a copy of us. But in the recesses of the computer programs that make him tick, I'm sure that he suspects that humans might just be copies of them. This is one of the central themes of Mr. Dick's novel, although the film does not enter fully or convincingly into this conundrum. I'm sure that K understands his existential melancholia: his devoted girlfriend named Joi (played by Ana de Armas) is nothing more than a computer program.
Even more impressive is Roger Deakins brilliant cinematography which lights an equally brilliant set design by Dennis Gassner was for me the most memorable aspect of the film. Mr. Deakins has been nominated thirteen times for the Academy Award and has lost each time. Perhaps this is the one that brings him the gold.