Watch: L.A.I.: Spike Jonze’s HER Meets Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER: A Video Essay

Watch: L.A.I.: Spike Jonze’s HER Meets Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER: A Video Essay

This video amalgamation of Spike Jonze’s Her and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner by Drew Morton has a sad, sweet quality about it, as if Morton were depicting two parts of the same film. Indeed, the movies show two sides of the same city, which in this case is futuristic Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a ripe creative playground for filmmakers, and they tend to exercise their recess privileges with great abandon. Jonze imagines the daytime city as a place built for both human convenience and soul-crushing anonymity; Scott imagines the nighttime city as a James-Joyce-meets-Buck-Rogers-meets-Raymond-Chandler stew, in which anything might happen, on the one hand, but the results might be depressingly predictable on the other. Similarly, blending the films this way makes one think that Joaquin Phoenix’s Twombly and Harrison Ford’s Deckard could be two halves of the same person–one vulnerable and open, the other jaded and wary. Both actors stepped out of their habitual roles for these films; Phoenix broke from his normal scenery decimation to play someone who was approachable, almost boring, and Ford played a character scarred by seeing the worst of life for too long, on his way to acquire still more scars, fresh from playing Indiana Jones. Morton skillfully allows the two films to bleed into each other, as when the music from Blade Runner becomes the music for Her–or does it?–and thus shows how two visions, separated by several decades, might possibly speak to each other, sending universal messages about loss and loneliness that echo and expand with repeated viewings, and with consideration.

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