When Blade Runner, the historic sci-fi film by Ridley Scott, arrived in theaters in 1982, no one could have expected the impact it would have on cinema (but also on entertainment in general), especially in relation to its initial lukewarm reception.
Yet that film at first sometimes misunderstood, also due to its strong mix with existential themes capable of flowing without problems both in lyricism and in philosophy, over the years has returned more and more forcefully to mark a real specific linked imaginary to science fiction, placing itself as one of the few works able to set a before and after its exit.
Numerous cult moments, including the timeless final scene in the rain starring Harrison Ford, in the role of bounty hunter Rick Deckard, and Rutger Hauer interpreting the enigmatic replicant Roy Batty.
The gates of Tannhäuser
To better understand the evocative and poignant final confrontation between Rick Deckard and Roy Batty, it is necessary to have in mind some key themes on which Ridley Scott's work focuses, including the concept of self-determination linked to artificial life forms.
In Blade Runner the viewer is immersed in a gloomy world straddling numerous dystopian and cyberpunk influences in which human beings coexist with their version improved under various aspects, the replicants, genetically modified organic androids used to carry out the most disparate jobs even on space colonies outside the planet Earth.
The protagonist of the events, Rick Deckard, has the task of eliminating some replicants who have camouflaged themselves in civil society after having fled the space colonies, in an attempt to bring back the emergency.
One of the many interesting points of the work (taken from the novel But do androids dream of electric sheep? in Philip K. Dick) it is related to the need of the replicants to want to continue living, as evidenced by their desire to go in search of their creators to have the life limit of only four years removed.
While Rick Deckard must try to stop opponents who are actually much stronger than him, the replicants carry out a mission parallel to that of the bounty hunter, almost as if the characters on the field act in a diametrically opposite way, who to end life and who instead to keep it going.
Despite the same Roy Batty is not presented as positive, the characterizations of the characters on stage pass from a gray area where the boundary between good and evil is not so clear during the entire duration of the work, prompting the spectators themselves to wonder several times where is the limit between real and artificial life (discussing one of the key themes at the base of science fiction starring androids) and how important free will is for every sentient organism.
And that's how, in the moment of the final confrontation between Deckard and Roy, the boundary between right and wrong becomes even more blurred, also due to an important action carried out by the replicant himself, the main villain of the film, who decides to save the very one who tried to kill him throughout the film, giving life to one of the most exciting moments in cinema.
Roy Batty in fact, although prone to violence (as evidenced by his actions), at the climax decides to save his opponent, displacing Deckard himself for his sometimes illogical choice.
Like tears in the rain
The replicant, effectively having the ability to kill the bounty hunter, instead he consciously chooses to spare his life, going even further, that is, creating a short but evocative monologue aimed at preserving his memories for an indefinite time.
Under a pouring rain, the replicant (from which a visibly frightened Deckard moves away as he can fearing the worst) then chooses the path of redemption and not violence, realizing that he has reached the final moment of his life.
Thus the reference to a mythical, very distant past - actually lasting a few years - that Roy himself does by listing the wonders he has seen outside the planet Earth allows the character to feel perhaps really alive for the first time, consciously choosing how to behave and how to relate to the world without pursuing any kind of unrealizable utopian dream.
In the famous monologue a profound is thus evoked sense of wonder that the very words of the replicant are able to make perfectly tangible and majestic, with Deckard himself who can not help but listen his interlocutor between wonder and amazement, almost as if he were a child listening to the best story ever heard.
The soundtrack that accompanies the scene is extremely evocative, capable of bringing the entire sequence to a sometimes mythical and ethereal dimension, managing in an impeccable way to make the spectators themselves travel to distant worlds with their minds.
The power of suggestion thus succeeds in to raise the very idea of cinema to its maximum power which is not just a story in pictures as it is often indicated, but a rotten pot of sensory experiences that only a few sequences within the seventh art have been able to fully exploit and touch.
Roy Batty talks about distant worlds, unfathomable wonders for the human mind but that he was able to see and appreciate in a way that is sometimes unique, claiming with his final actions and his monologue the will to self-determination that humans have denied him, relegating him and all his fellows to a destiny of real slavery.
Slavery that returns in the final sequence, with the same replicant who wants to prove, albeit for a moment, the enormous degree of suffering, bewilderment and simple terror that he himself has had to endure for his entire life.
Roy, proving capable of feeling a deep existential sadness for his condition, is also touched by the fact that his experiences will dissolve without a trace, almost as if the very meaning of life and death also passes from the memory that the community has of us or, at least, what we have tried to be.
Roy's final outburst turns out like this a veritable epiphany for both him and Deckard, who is struck by his opponent, thus concluding that the boundary that now separates humans from replicants is almost entirely intangible.