As an actor, I can appreciate a good monologue. Just you up on stage or screen. There is a great story that Anthony Hopkins told of when he was a young actor at the Old Vic, understudying and acting alongside the great Sir Laurence Olivier. Olivier told Hopkins that when you are delivering a line, "You're the star of the show." Slightly puzzled, Hopkins asked, "Why?" "Well," replied Olivier, "You're the only one speaking at the time."
When Blade Runner first came out, it was derided by many as all special effects, and no substance. It was only until many years later that critics began to reverse that opinion and see the film for what it is: a flat out masterpiece, not only of sci-fi, but just in general It influenced so many things that came after it.
It also asks the central question; "What does it mean to be human?" Rutger Hauer's monologue near the end of the movie has been generally recognized as one of the most poignant moments ever placed on film. It also wasn't in the script. Hauer improvised the scene in his trailer, showed it to Ridley Scott, who wisely decided that it was better than what was in the script, so he let Hauer run with it. The result is pure magic:
Life, death, morality, ethics, spirituality, meaning, humanism, it is all covered in this movie. This one scene compresses so much of that into a magical moment.
This cut is from the most recent Blade Runner, "The Final Cut" (There are several versions of the movie - long story about that.) In the original theatrical release however, Harrison Ford ("Deckard") has a voice over for this scene, that was one of several in the movie. While many Blade Runner purists like myself don't really care for the voice overs', this one has stayed with me, and is the one I actually enjoy:
Deckard: "I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments, he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life. Anybody's life. My life. All he wanted was the same answers the rest of us want. Where do I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die."
While sitting in my favorite coffee shop today, it started to rain hard outside, and this scene flashed into my head. Whenever I worked rainy summer nights in Brooklyn, it always reminded me of Blade Runner. Whenever I dealt with death, I thought of Roy Batty. (Hauer's character.)
When I dealt with my own death, I was Deckard. I don't know why I was spared, but then again, who does?
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