Blade Runner and the Unicorn

“Blade Runner” (1982) | The Ladd Company, Warner Brothers

 

Some of my favourite creatives and cinephiles share a favourite movie experience: the film
that left a mark on them, that changed them, that influenced them personally, creatively or both.

 

Words by: Thomas Puhr

 

Blade Runner and the Unicorn

When my father took the VHS tape from its shelf at our local Blockbuster, I had never heard of Blade Runner or Ridley Scott. He explained how he and my mother had first rented the film and watched it at home while taking care of my older sisters. He thought I would like it, but, in case I didn’t, he picked up another movie before we went home.

Needless to say, I’ve forgotten what the second option was. I won’t pretend I can vividly describe that first viewing, but I can recall its impact and the fascination in film that it helped provoke in me. I remember feeling frustrated over not “getting” the ending (what was with the unicorn figurine left on the floor?), but also exhilarated from encountering a story that purposefully left some dots unconnected.

​Some years later, when in high school, I went with my father to see the remastered cut that was released in theaters. I had seen the movie many times by that point, but watching it on the big screen was like viewing it for the first time; it actually felt like a different movie (and not just because a few scenes had been slightly altered here and there).

​Though I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Blade Runner, I must admit that I’ve never seen the original original version; that is, the one with the infamous Deckard voiceover narration. A college professor once urged me to check it out, claiming that it was better than the director’s cut.

I’ve never watched it, and I don’t think I ever will. I know that by doing so I reject critical objectivity and succumb to nostalgia, but I want to keep this particular film memory untouched.
​ 
 

Thomas Puhr lives in Chicago, where he teaches English and language arts. A regular
contributor to Bright Lights Film Journal, Film International, and Beneficial Shock!, he is
also the editor for The Big Picture and sporadically updates his film blog, Screen Icebergs.

 
From the same series: Favourite film: Lost in Translation / Favourite film: Alice in the Cities

 

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