Blade Runner: The Final Cut
A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
“Blade Runner was meant to be cautionary. For instance, [the film] was shot during the dawn of Reaganism. And I was flabbergasted by Ronald Reagan and everything he stood for. So the cruel politics portrayed in the film were my rebuttal of Reaganism, in a sense.” – Hampton Fancher, writer on Blade Runner
The city of Los Angeles imagined in Blade Runner reflects Reagan’s lack of interest in funding and ensuring urban balance. As journalist Andrew Kopkind argued as early as 1984, “[s]ince Reaganism sets the terms of the debate; it need not be overly concerned about the details. It holds the high ground; what happens at the lower levels is curious but not crucial” (Boyer 94-95). The city’s exacerbated polarization displays the likely consequences of such dissimilarities. And furthermore, thanks to its dualistic spaces, the film positions itself as (counter)narrative of Reagan’s discourse on wealth and prosperity. Whenever the camera zeroes in on the impoverished city ground or when it shows Deckard’s car being almost dismantled in the street, the film refutes the “American miracle” proclaimed by Reagan as well as his idea of how supply-side theory made “economy bloomed like a plant that had been cut back and could now grow
quicker and stronger”.11 It is not surprising that the macro-perspective is controlled by huge advertisements of Coca Cola or Pan-An. But as pointed out previously, the power and solidity of big business is not matched, in turn, with a well-established average consumer as the abundant images of poverty on the ground level certify. By means of presenting an economic landscape totally subjected to big business, powerful enough to become an enormous material part of the city, the discourse of the film validates the argument asserting that “Reaganomics is based, in large part, on the belief that only the large corporations can revitalize the American economy” (Carnoy and Shearer 113-114). Moreover, along with the very materiality of the city, the film makes explicit the Reaganite narrative by leaving any form of government totally absent and unnamed.
In his first inaugural speech, Reagan offered one of his most famous lines: “[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” This head-on statement was not merely an ostentatious claim. It prefigured the economic management that was to predominate in the ensuing years, that is, transferring agency and influence from federal government to the markets. This anti-government position is examined in the film in rather negative terms. The narration renders, in visual terms, an oppressive sense of corporate culture. As opposed to Reagan’s glorification of free enterprise, in Blade Runner the corporate apparatus seems claustrophobically omnipresent, literalized on the walls of the cityscape as well as on the acoustic spaces through various advertisements. Corporations appropriate the city’s architecture
and atmosphere while government is apparently absent.” Fabián Orán Llarena,RIDLEY SCOTT’S DYSTOPIA MEETS RONALD REAGAN’S AMERICA: CLASS CONFLICTAND POLITICAL DISCLOSURE IN BLADE RUNNER:
THE FINAL CUT
- 4/13 | 8:00PM