24. Blade Runner
Where movies once showed us futures of vastly improved lives and a cleaner, more wholesome world, Blade Runner trapped us within claustrophobic cityscapes before post-apocalyptic films became popular. Its bleak outlook on a smoggy downtown Los Angeles set the gold standard for a future rife with overpopulation, limited resources, and oppression — all monitored by mega-corporations. Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a man tasked with taking down rogue Replicants — bio-engineered super-humans bred for war and slave labor.
As Deckard looks further and further into the Replicants’ actions and motivations, his goal becomes increasingly questionable. The future Los Angeles, while technologically advanced, reminds us more of the lawless Old West or debauched ancient Rome. And despite all advancements, but mechanical and social, we see a vision of humanity that has once again relied on slavery of living organisms. Blade Runner uses its story and gorgeous art direction as a cautionary tale of a doomed future that has repeated the worst mistakes of the past.
Image Source: IMDb