Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sexual assault in Blade Runner

By Sam Belacqua

I knew something was off when my 16-year-old daughter asked if the new Blade Runner 2049 would have less or more rape than the original.

I hadn't seen the movie for many, many years. I don't really care much for movies. I can read now, so sitting down and having actors read lines inside a box isn't something that milks my dick that much, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of sex stuff, the scene in which Loser McButterfingers (Harrison Ford) rapes Woman Wearing Upholstery (Sean Young) is weird, uncomfortable, and vaguely awful.

Here’s the scene in a nutshell: Rachael’s with Deckard in his apartment. They’re sitting together at his piano when he tries to kiss her. She pulls back, then jumps up and races for the door (the shaky handheld camerawork emphasizing her urgency and determination to leave). She opens the door, but Deckard jumps in front of her—looking quite angry, mind you—and slams it shut with his fist, then grabs her with both hands and physically slams her against the window.
That’s our hero in action.
Then, as if all that weren’t creepy enough, he orders her to say, “Kiss me.” She doesn’t want to, so he orders her again. This time she says it. He kisses her (because, hey, she just told him to, right?), she kisses him back, and they continue as we fade to black. (

skip to 2:20, of the so-called "love scene"

She tries to get away. He blocks her path, slams shut the door. He tells her to say things, forces himself on her. 

I've read a few posts elsewhere about this, because I hit the Googles thinking "Am I nuts? Was that what I thought it was?"

Many folks on the webbernet have said that she didn't know what she wanted, that he had to show her. I've covered courts for years and have heard this. Along with the excuse that she came to his apartment, so sex was implied, or some such. 

Maybe he's just imperfect? Here's a response.
Others say it just goes to show that Deckard is an imperfect character. I think that's probably what Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford were going for. Everyone appreciates a flawed protagonist; it humanizes them. But there's a difference between "protagonist is kind of a jerk who just wants to do the right thing" and "protagonist is a rapist who just wants to do the right thing." - CapitalWasteland
And then there's this:
I've realized I should also add that Deckard is also frustrated, exhausted, and saddened by Rachel's situation, and that to me is where much of the aggression comes from. - an answer on Quora
Translation: What? Rape her? No, no. He was having a bad day, so it couldn't be rape.

People are nuts, you know? Forced sexual contact. Against a person's will.

But she's not a person, they say.

It's a movie, goddamn it. None of them are people, you dumb nutscab.

I guess Cracked cover this, too. Sorry, Deckard. Rape doesn’t become less rapey when you’re raping a replicant.

I was 12 when the original came out, so it didn't hit me the way it does now, as husband, father, and adult dude. Also, I seem to remember TV and movies filled with one person slapping the other, then the slapping back, then they start humping because it wasn't violence -- it was sexual tension.

Going to see the movie tonight, Thursday.

My hope is that all I have to explain to my teenage daughter is why I'm not spending seven goddamn dollars on a goddamn Icee at the theater.


Anonymous said...

In my opinion, it's a very improper scene and does appear to be rape. However, in the time it was filmed, it's debatable if that was the intent — the idea of consent has become a lot more solid since the 1980's.

If we do take it as a rape, it reinforces the sense in the movie that humans aren't worth saving. They've destroyed the world, killed all the animals, live in squalor, force each other into work, exploit each other, and rape each other. So, why are humans supposedly more human and better than replicants? Replicants seem to have a stronger desire to live.

But also, the question of "can you rape a replicant?" can't just be brushed aside. The whole theme of the movie is should they be treated like humans? They're executed for being on Earth, used as slave labour off-world, etc. In this society they aren't human. And its a good question to raise to make us think about how we should treat things we create in the future.

(Bladerunner is rated R though. Maybe 16 year olds shouldn't be watching it)

Anonymous said...

P.S It's also great that a 16 year old can recognise it as rape. Where as in the past this would have been missed by most people.

Alex W said...

It's explicitly stated in the film that there are "pleasure model" replicants too isn't it? Implying this goes on a lot off world?

Anonymous said...

Please be careful judging a 35 year old movie from a 2017 perspective. Remember the Police song "Every breath you take"? It was considered an incredibly romantic song at the time and a huge pop hit. Now it's a creepy stalker's song.