The ending to the director’s cut of the film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott leaves the audience guessing whether or not Rick Deckard is a replicant, the very beings he has been searching and killing for the entire film. The ending three scenes of the film, where Deckard and Roy Batty are on the rooftop to the building adjacent to the Bradbury apartment building and then in Deckard’s apartment at two different moments in time are carefully shot in a way to give the audience a true sense of how to perceive the replicant’s emotions. Ridley Scott, the director of Blade Runner uses extensive long close-ups of the characters to gauge their facial expressions, as well as lengthy long shots to see the extent of what Los Angeles looks like in the year 2019 throughout the entire film.
The third to last scene with Deckard and Batty on the rooftop truly shows the way replicants can be if they so choose. Ridley Scott shot this scene in a very simple way, having each character still in the frame, which allowed for easy cutting between the two characters. This scene starts with a close-up of Batty and ends with close-up of Deckard’s face. In this scene, there are a several lengthy shots of different characters, the first is a close-up of Deckard, which then fades to a close-up of Batty, which shows the arrival of Gaff, then the camera cuts to another lengthy close-up of Deckard, where the soundtrack is interrupted by the voice of Gaff, this is then followed by a few quick cuts between Deckard and Gaff, which leads to a lengthy shot of Gaff talking to Deckard. This is a very effective way for the audience to gauge how the character is reacting to what is happening to them.
This scene depicts the overall movie very well. It shows the audience that the replicants do have emotion, that they can make rational choices. The rain that is falling as Deckard looks at Batty’s dead body sitting there, persuades the audience to feel sadden by Batty’s death, even though he is the villain in the film, he still saved Deckard’s life.
In this scene, the audience has watched Batty expire, Deckard have some realization, and Gaff make remarks about Rachel. All three of these parts to the scene all have a certain connotation to the Blade Runner. Starting with the first with Batty’s expiration, as Batty expires, the dove he had been holding is released from his grip. This has a meaning of peace. This means that Batty is finally at peace with his existence, he no longer searches for extra life because Deckard has killed all his friends, and truly has no reason to live. This leads to the realization of Deckard, even though he had killed all of Batty’s friends, Batty still could not let Deckard fall off the rooftop. With the several close-ups of Deckard in this scene, the audience can see the true remorse he feels towards Batty. Even though, Deckard has done terrible things to Batty, and has preconceptions about replicants, Batty proves Deckard and everyone wrong, by showing true emotion and saves Deckard from peril. As the audience can see, Deckard is grateful, and at the same time, shocked as to what just happened to him. This shocked look on Deckard’s face persists into the arrival of Gaff, and with Gaff’s words is still on Deckard’s face. Gaff tells Deckard, “That it is a shame the girl will not live.” This says more than just that Rachel is a replicant and could possibly have an expiration date, but more so to the fact that Gaff or someone that is like him will have to hunt her down and kill her because she is a replicant. The expression that is on Deckard’s when Gaff says this, is utter terror, Deckard is starting to think that Rachel is already dead, or will be very soon.
In the second to last scene of Blade Runner, this is where we see Deckard’s thought to be worst nightmare come true. The scene starts with the elevator door opening and Deckard exiting the elevator, as Deckard approaches the door to his apartment, he finds it ajar. The expression on Deckard’s face when he sees the door is of concern for the well being of Rachel, who is in his apartment. Deckard takes a step back, looks over his shoulder, and draws his weapon to the door. Deckard then proceeds into his apartment cautiously and with concern. The next shot in this scene is of the bedroom, where no person is visible on screen. Deckard enters the bedroom from the back left of the shot; still no other person is visible on screen. Deckard approaches the bed with caution, as he does not know what to expect when he removes the sheet from the bed. As Deckard removes the sheet from the bed, he sees Rachel lying on the bed, motionless. Deckard begins to caress Rachel’s face, Deckard then proceeds to kiss Rachel on the cheek, and Rachel is then woken up by this kiss, to the relief of Deckard. There is a lengthy close-up between these two characters, they kiss and exchange gazes.
Since this scene takes place within Deckard’s apartment, it is a lot darker than it was on the rooftop. Using this darkness to his advantage, Ridley Scott pushes the audience to become anxious as to what the outcome of Rachel is. This scene is also shot slightly different than the prior scene. This scene features longer shots. Ridley Scott uses medium and medium close-ups to portray the characters feelings. Not only are there fewer close-ups of the actors, there is also a shot of nothing but the backdrop and surrounding room. Utilizing this shot adds some suspense to the scene, but leaving the audience guessing for a short amount of time as to what has happened, if anything, to Rachel. This scene is shorter in duration than the rooftop scene in the prior scene.
In this scene, Deckard cannot help but be concerned about what has happened to Rachel after what Gaff said to Deckard on the rooftop. The connotation that Gaff makes after his remarks to Deckard about it being a shame that the girl will not survive means that Rachel is already dead, or that she will be very soon if Deckard does not do anything about the situation. In this scene, we see Deckard’s true love for Rachel and the worry he has that she may already be dead. Deckard has no idea what is actually in his apartment, nor what he may find when he arrives there. Deckard’s arrival to his apartment reveals an apartment ajar, which to us, audience can only mean one thing, trouble. When Deckard calls out for Rachel and does not receive acknowledgement to this, the audience can add that quite to the assumption that something has happened to Rachel. These connotations the audience assumes about what has happened to Rachel would not occur if the scene were presented in a different style, the long, drawn out shots prolong the audience, putting them in suspense, waiting to find out what has been inflicted on Rachel.
The last scene of the director’s cut in Blade Runner occurs in Deckard’s apartment still, but a short time has elapsed, as both Deckard and Rachel are wearing different attire. This subtle change in wardrobe allows the audience to become aware of this lapse in time. However, with this subtle wardrobe change, the characteristics of Deckard’s current state have not, Deckard is still moving cautiously throughout the apartment and corridor of the building. This scene also does not feature many close-ups; however, this scene does not use lengthy shots, Ridley Scott uses quicker cuts between the two characters of Deckard and Rachel. Using quicker cuts between the two characters adds an essence of urgency that Deckard has to get the two of them out of the building. This scene is also brighter than the previous scene in the bedroom of the apartment. Ridley Scott utilizes the natural sunlight of the daytime. Carrying from the previous scene that did not feature any soundtrack, this scene starts off without a soundtrack as well. The soundtrack is added when the two characters, Deckard and Rachel leave the apartment.
This simple light change connotes different things about the current situation, the use of the daylight; opposed to darkness that fell into the hallway when Deckard first arrived to his apartment represents a change in time as well as a sense of calm or safety that Deckard and Rachel have found. The final part of the film that speaks the loudest to the audience would be the discovery of the unicorn origami figure that was on the floor from Gaff (Gaff had been leaving them at different places he visited throughout the movie). This simple unicorn origami figure represents the entire movie. This figure lends the idea that Deckard himself is a replicant, because earlier in the film whilst Deckard slept he dreamt of a unicorn running through the forest. Gaff would not know this if Deckard was in fact human, seeing this origami figure presents the notion that Deckard’s dream was an implanted dream or memory that is a common trait of replicants. As the audience revels in this connotation of the unicorn, something imaginary to begin with, could have been replicated by the year 2019.
The film ends before any answers to this question can be answered, but ending the film with this question makes the audience rethink the entire movie. Replicants are created to serve a single purpose, they cannot feel emotion, cannot create outside of their parameters, and they tend to do things in a repetitive pattern. Once this unicorn is presented to the audience at the end of the film, you can begin to see the pattern of Deckard and how he carried out the orders of Harry Bryant, the Captain of the Los Angeles Police Department. Yet there is no definitive proof that Deckard is a replicant, the evidence tends to lean in that direction.