Human or Replicant?

Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner does not only contain beautifully crafted images from beginning to end, but also tons of symbols. When looking at all the symbols in this movie, one has stuck with me the most and that is the unicorn.

Blade Runner is set in a futuristic world where humans have been able to create very life like androids called “replicants” to be used as slaves. When these slaves escape their work plantation, Rick Deckard, the titular “Blade Runner” is tasked with tracking them down and “retiring” them.

During one scene, Deckard gets drunk and looks at his family photos. When he ends up passing out, he dreams of a unicorn galloping through a forest. At the end of the film, when Deckard goes back home to flee with his love, he sees that his boss, Gaff, has left him an origami unicorn.

Without seeing the film, this might not seem like such a big deal, but trust me, it is. Earlier in the film, Deckard explains that these replicants have their memories implanted. So, this origami unicorn symbolises Gaff’s knowledge of Deckard’s dreams and memories, meaning that Rick Deckard himself is possibly a replicant.

This origami unicorn means so much to me and many others because it changes your entire view of the film. One of the biggest themes in the film is humanity and the question of what it means to be human. Having Deckard being a replicant adds a whole other layer because we go through the movie seeing him be as human as anyone. He eats, sleeps, thinks and loves. All this knowledge just adds more to the mystery behind the definition of a human.

And to think that all of this didn’t even exist in the original version of the film!  

5 réflexions au sujet de “Human or Replicant?”

  1. Il be fair, I’ve never really liked or have had any interest in the Blade Runner films at all because I didn’t think it would be worth the while getting into. I am a very big fan of Ridley Scott and especially his work on the Alien movies which happens to be one of my favorite franchises, knowing that he has done Blade Runner didn’t really change my opinion towards the film. It was until I read your article that I was fully able to appreciate Ridley’s film and watch it for myself and it was a real eye opener. The way you described the twist on how Deckard may possibly be a Replicant himself and the unravelling that his entire life might have been a lie, this made me want to dig deep into the plot and expanded lore of the film. Thank you, Harry for opening my eyes to this amazing film it is really something I enjoy.

  2. I’m happy I was able to expose you to the deepening mystery of the nature of Deckard through Scott’s Director’s Cut. What’s also interesting is that Blade Runner was not even a commercial success when it was first released. It became a success only in time as people grew to appreciate the film.

    1. I’m also happy that this whole other side of a film that is already so deep has been revealed to me. The fact that Blade Runner was not a commercial success isn’t that surprising to me. It’s far from being another one of the action-packed thrill rides of the ’80s and it being a dark, slow and almost completely visual film definitely didn’t help. When looking at the movie industry now, I’m happy to see that people are starting to give movies like this a chance and production companies are actually financing films that aren’t huge blockbusters. I thank God for A24!

  3. Just by reading this, i can tell that the movie really had you think deeper and intrigued about the mystery. I understand perfectly your point of view on what the oragami unicorn represent to the main character. To be honest myself wouldn’t even realize the symbolism of that unicorn because when i saw the video you put up, when that lady walk over the unicorn, i didn’t know the if it was important thinking it might just be some piece of paper. you just point out to me to pay attention to little détails im movies because it might be the key of the puzzle! Great article, Harry!

  4. Hi Harry, I really enjoyed reading your article, I love seeing things from a different point of view. If you’ve watched the new one Blade Runner 2049, you know that some people are saying that this mystery is resolved when Deckard appears in last parts of the movie. Do you think that giving us the answer was a good idea, or should they have left it the way it was from the last movie? Or do you believe that the mystery is still not resolved?

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