4. Sci-fi noir
Sometimes, genre mashups are a bit of a mess. Take Cowboys & Aliens, for example. As much as I kind of enjoy that movie (which, come to think of it, also stars Harrison Ford, though as a grizzled cattle rancher instead of a quasi-sanctioned bounty hunter), it’s rough. But, at the very least, the concept is intriguing. I just wish they had thought of a better title.
My point is that, with some careful forethought and serious planning, genre mixing can be fruitful. You just have to possess a heightened awareness of what makes each genre great, and how these two can play well together. It takes a deft hand, to be sure.
Ridley Scott and his team were, thankfully, skillful enough to make the science fiction noir of Blade Runner not just workable, but truly compelling.
Blade Runner has all of the classic marks of a moody, atmospheric noir film. I’ve already mentioned its distinctive lighting and ever-present rain, but it’s also full of slow, thoughtful shots. Some early critics actually hated this, claiming that the film plodded along without any real action. However, this may be one of the greatest strengths of the film – its willingness to linger. Think of any classic noir, with its long shots of faces and scenes, and you’ll get my drift.
The science fiction here isn’t an add-on, but rather an integral part of the movie. Deckard and everyone else is fully immersed in the high-tech world. Even if they want to escape it, as is implied at the end of the movie, they can’t. That’s especially true given that many of the central characters are bioengineered beings that wouldn’t exist outside of the realms of sci-fi. Together, these two genres work to create a uniquely beautiful film.