9. Blade Runner
It’s the future. The year is 2019. And dangerous human-seeming androids known as replicants are being hunted down by retired cop Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).
How can you tell a replicant from a human though? Simple. Replicants have no empathy. And yet by the end of Blade Runner not only does head replicant and ice cold baddie Roy (Rutger Hauer) feel empathy for Deckard and spare his life, we viewers have no choice but to be moved by what are the most beautiful dying words in film history, Hauer’s “Tears in rain” speech.
Roy is merciless throughout Blade Runner. Every human he meets - Hannibal Chew, Tyrell, J.F. Sebastian - he cruelly and needlessly slaughters. Apart from Deckard. It’s only as Roy realises that his own death is imminent that he realises the value of life and spares Deckard’s. Roy is genuinely heartbroken when fellow replicant and girlfriend Pris is killed, but he spares the life of her killer. You sympathise with Roy because he was built unable to empathise, built to only last four years, built believing he was human when it was all a lie. And in his death he makes peace with the beauty and futility of his existence.
N.b. it’s also worth pointing out that Deckard isn’t the nicest guy when watching this film in 2019 - the scene where he ‘seduces’ Rachel (Sean Young) just screams #MeToo. Yeesh!