Guise magazine published a piece by Sarah Jennifer Heeley about Blade Runner's noir-influenced costume design. Blade Runner is still the pinnacle of sci-fi art and design for me, and marks the high point of a great year of sci-fi cinema. If you doubt, consider this list: E.T., Tron, Videodrome, Mad Max 2, Star Trek II and The Thing; every film excelled at some aspect of cinematic design.
Each unit in Blade Runner was clearly working in some kind of perfected tandem. I can't even consider a costume, prop or set from the film without imagining it as part of the whole scene. More impressive is how the design hasn't suffered much parody after all these years, unlike Return of the Jedi from the following year, even with the joke-baiting noir genre as its baseline. Still all of a piece within its own universe when watched today, the pathetic fallacy, existential angst, lighting and characterisation are all referential but never stand in front of the film itself. Other films have followed, such as Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor and Gattaca, but those films suffered from what Blade Runner did not, self-conscious reverence.
For other great films with noir-influenced design in a sci-fi universe check out the godfather of the genre, Godard's Alphaville from 1965, or Lars Von Trier's 1984 film The Element of Crime.
Art & Design
All contributions by Kieran Gosney unless otherwise stated.
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