Friday, February 25, 2011

Blade Runner & Eyes

Blade Runner has many interesting elements that touch on the ideas of humanity, replication, and the future. We follow Deckard throughout the film as he is on the quest to kill replicants that have illegally escaped to earth in hopes of prolonging their lives. Throughout the film, eyesight seems to be central to identification. In the beginning of the film we see the questioning a replicant, accompanied by a monitor that analyzes eyes to determine whether or not the individual was a replicant. Eyes come into play later in the film as well, when Roy finds Sebastian, the man who created his eyes. Our eyes are essential—we gather information through our eyes, and we form visual memories with our eyes, but our eyes also reveal a lot about us. Our eyes are one of the most intricate parts of our bodies and have the capacity to reveal a lot about our emotions. I thought it was interesting that eyes were the only way to determine whether someone was human or a replicant. It seemed to be the only factor differentiating the replicants from human beings. Yet, with more advanced replicants like Rachel, it is still difficult to determine.


  1. I believe that eyes are important in epistemological considerations in addition to all the other reasons you mentioned that eyes are important to humans. While I think that most people would identify sight the most essential sense for experience, I think it is important to not get carried away with the role sight or any other sense experience plays in obtaining true knowledge. I am sure that the creators of this film included eyes for this reason as well. The focus on eyes in this film got me thinking about what we see and what we think we see. There are many instances where our eyes play tricks on us and we see things that aren't there or are in fact entirely different than we see them. These tricks of the eye also play an important role in the film. The best example of this is with the replicants that appear human but are not. I believe the creators of the film are at lest partially endorsing the view that true knowledge takes a lot more than a mere sight experience.

  2. I think the motif of eyes and sight is especially interesting in this movie as well. Not only is it central to identification (and maybe misidentification as Charles mentioned) within the narrative, it's also really central to the viewer's experience. The entire time I was watching Blade Runner (and Alien) I couldn't help but think about how incredibly beautiful what I was seeing in front of me was. What we're looking at is a future that seems bleak and hopeless, however we can't look away because in some ways, it's absolutely beautiful. This is the same kind of feeling I think Harrison Ford's character had at the end - he's looking at Rachel, knowing she's a replicant (a bleak and hopeless existence in and of itself) yet still questions what it means to be human.