Though visually arresting and intellectually fascinating, Blade Runner’s narrative missteps limit its impact.
None of these characters are three dimensional, not even Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).
Furthermore, the characters’ relationships are underexplained. Rick and Rachael (Sean Young) are intimate too quickly. J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) decides to help Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) and Pris (Daryl Hannah) without much explanation. He’s dying, sure, but he also knows how dangerous the replicants are, so his motivations need to be better analyzed.
Given that Blade Runner is plot and theme-based, the above flaws do not ruin it. They just keep the viewer at an emotional distance that prevents true immersion into its story-line.
Were the movie’s narrative less linear, like 2001: A Space Odyssey’s, limited character development would prove less problematic. But because Director Ridley Scott and Writers Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples craft a direct noir story, they invite evaluation of their characters, just as much as they do of their plot.
Fortunately, Scott and the writers do not misstep thematically. Blade Runner is philosophically challenging and symbolically complex.
It is also beautiful. Scott’s visual effects and lighting aptly create and sustain mood.
Even if the film lags for stretches, relying too much on its visual poetry and not enough on propelling its story.
All of that said, the movie’s resolution (from Scott’s Director’s Cut) is terrific. Its uncertainty fits the rest of Blade Runner’s events.