Study Guide

Blade Runner Genre

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Neo-Noir, Dystopian Sci-Fi, Thriller

Blade Runner takes place in a sci-fi dystopia, just like Brave New World or 1984 or Fahrenheit 451. But there are things that make Blade Runner unique.

Brave New World depicts a world dominated by super powerful technologies, which is similar to what Blade Runner presents—but Brave New World is much more pleasure-based and superficially nice, whereas Blade Runner's L.A. is overtly gritty and bleak. 1984 depicts a totalitarian government, and Blade Runner has the excessively powerful Tyrell Corporation in it. At the same time, Blade Runner's society seems kind of anarchistic and out of control, in a way totally different from what you see in 1984. As for Fahrenheit 451, well… L.A. has always been oriented more toward movie theaters than libraries.

Blade Runner is also a new, revamped a version of a film noir. How is it revamped? Well, for one thing, it puts a radical sci-fi spin on the genre. It's still got the heavy-drinking Philip Marlowe-style detective wandering around a dark and violent urban underworld, with questionable characters at every turn. But Deckard and the others have a cyberpunk look to them, and the whole setting has been transposed to the future.

And why is this flick a thriller? Easy peasy: there are thrills, there are chills, there are replicants getting gunned down, there's a dude hanging off a roof, and there are totally eyes getting gouged out. It's thrilling, folks.

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