To what extent do Blade Runner (US 1982) and The Matrix (US 1999) make the use of film noir features and techniques

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To what extent do “Blade Runner” (US 1982) and “The Matrix” (US 1999) make the use of film noir features and techniques

“The Matrix” has a main science fiction theme but also includes features of film noir films. It is directed and written by Andy and Larry Wachowski. Other than Science Fiction and film noir the film can also be classed as a Hybrid.

“Blade Runner” is more of a film noir film than “The Matrix”. Although it does include action and fighting scenes but these have film noir features in them. Most ideas about the film are connected with film noir such as the mystery, the low key lighting and symbolic objects. It was directed by Ridley Scott and written by Phillip K. Dick, Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples.

The main characters in “The Matrix” are Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Keanu Reeves as Thomas A. Anderson or Neo and Carry-Anne Moss as Trinity. In Blade Runner the main characters were Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty and Sean Young as Rachael.

Film noir comes from the French term, ‘A Black Film’ or a ‘Dark Film’. It was noticed in America during the forties and fifties by a French film critic who saw how quite a lot of films made had dark looks and themes. These appeared to be mainly in American Crime and Detective films released during World War 2.

        Typical features of film noir include feelings of fatalistic pessimism, incidents of treachery, and a sense of a corrupt and violent society threatening the hero and other hero – like characters. Other features are darkness, secretive and mysterious people and mystery. A reason for the low lighting in film noir films is that in Hollywood studios, after the war they could not afford expensive lighting equipment so they made the films with dark themes. Another feature of film noir films is that they include femme fatale characters which are normally strong and use their appearance as a weapon. “The Matrix” and “Blade Runner” both include strong female characters. In “Blade Runner” the strong female characters are Rachael and Zhora and in “The Matrix” it is Trinity. Audiences demand strong characters because it is like a role – reversal, in most films men are the hero and leading characters, which makes it unusual for women to be strong and powerful. The world war influenced film makers to make films which had strong female characters to encourage women and make them feel appreciated for all of the jobs that they were doing during the war whilst men were on the battlefields.

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        In “Blade Runner” the main character, Deckard, is an ex-policeman and ex-blade runner. He is found and reassigned as a blade runner to find some rogue replicants who have gone ‘On the run’. In “The Matrix” the main character Thomas A. Anderson is found by a group of people who have found out that he is ‘the one’ who will stop “The Matrix”, he is bought in to ‘The real world’ to stop agents and make the world ‘right’.

        I feel that in “Blade Runner” the main issues and ideas that the film considers are that the society in the ...

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