Rutger Hauer is fondly remembered for his role as Roy Batty, the noble robot in the science fiction film BLADE RUNNER (1982). Forty years later, the scene of his death still resonates.
In the scene, Roy saves the life of the policeman Deckard, played by Harrison Ford. Deckard wants to kill Roy because the state has decided to get rid of rebel robots.
Robots in BLADE RUNNER only live for seven years. After he pulls Deckard off the rooftop, Roy faces his expiration date. In pouring rain, he delivers a poignant monologue about transience:
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
Made in 1982, BLADE RUNNER remains topical. As Artificial Intelligence increasingly penetrates daily life, we face similar issues. Did Roy save Deckard because he developed human empathy? Or because he saw in Deckard a mirror image of his own fragility?
Can we exit our own perspective to see the world through the eyes of another?