Bladerunner is my favourite film. By a mile.
But there is something that I’ve always found a little disturbing, and that’s its portrayal of women and their deaths.
The two female replicants, one a ‘pleasure model’, the other an erotic snake dancer, are hunted by Deckard throughout the film, as are their male counterparts Roy Batty and Leon Kowalski. However, where Leon’s death is quick and simple, and Roy’s is a glorious and dignified ‘fade out’, Zhora and Pris are both seen as excuses for a highly elaborate slowmo, ‘romantic’ death, lingered over, with neither wearing much in the way of clothing.
Undeniably, Zhora’s desperate lunge through plate glass shop window displays, surrounded by primary colour neon and fake snow is a beautifully constructed (and re-constructed for the Final Cut version) and shot scene. But is the bikini clad slow mo necessary? What does it add?
When Deckard tracks down Pris in the ruined building in which she’s been hiding out, there is a brief physical tussle before again, Deckard dispatches her with a couple of shots from his gun. Her thrashing and screaming is ended only by the second gunshot, which sends her body flying into the air, again in slowmo:
I would change nothing about Bladerunner. But I do wonder on its comment about the worth of women, or the perception of them in the future. Heck, even the ‘love scene’ between Deckard and Rachel is a male-dominant scene in which Rachel ‘obeys’ Deckard’s commands to adore him.
Perhaps it’s got something to do with the era in which the film was made, a sign of the 80s more than anything else. But then Ridley has never chosen to change the elaborate images of his female replicants demises in the numerous updates of the movie.
Just saying, that’s all.