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Eye Symbolism in Blade Runner 2049 Explained || Hidden Messages Analysis

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Published on Oct 22, 2017

A few days ago I watched the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 and quite frankly it was a really good movie that exceeded my expectations.

We can talk about about this movie for hours discussing questions such as what it really means to be human and are we more than just a product of our biology?

But in this video, I want to talk about one specific aspect of Blade runner 2049 which eyes, what is the symbolism and hidden meanings behind all eyes shots. There many parallels with the plot that are quite surprising.

Let;s start with the fact that Both blade runner movies try to answer a question what really defines being human, a concept that is closely related to consciousness and ability to experience emotions. In other words, being human is equivalent to having a soul and eyes are commonly know in the literature as a window to one’s soul. The movie adapts and explores this idea through multiple metaphors and symbols.

As Agent K states in the movie to be born is to have a soul
so often by just looking in someone’s eyes, we can tell what they feel and get a sense of their emotional state. On the other hand, if you look at eyes of some inanimate objects, you can’t see anything.

Let’s see what the eye symbolism suggests in the movie and what are the hidden messages of course spoilers are ahead, so you’ve been warn.

The opening shot of an eye makes us more emotionally engaged with the movie itself and sets up a tone for the following events.
This long eye contact can make viewers self conscious which is probably the main goal of the movie. It also raises a question whom this eye belongs too. Could it be Rachael? Later in the movie Deckart rejects the new Rachael that Wallace produces because the new copy is missing green eyes that the real Rachael had.

When it comes to Wallace eyes, they make pretty interesting points in the movie.
In Blade Runner 2049, Wallace (played by Jared Leto) is the leader of the corporation that now makes replicants. Wallace is blind, which is ironic, because Tyrell, the last person to manufactured replicabts, died without his eyes that were taken by a replicant rebell. Wallace doesn’t see with his eyes, he has 6 flying drones that are connected to a chip implanted in his neck, which suggests that he views the world not with his soul but uniquely thought lenses of technology.
Wallace can look at six completely separate things at once using these drones, which in certain sense makes him a god like figure that can see and observe way more that an ordinary human.

This is one of many parallels between Wallace and God. The headcorters of Wallace corporation is a pyramid with an all seeing creator on the top, which is a metaphor of the eye of province.

Another interpretation, of Wallace blindness is fact that he has lost his humanity. One of the themes of blade runner movies is the criticism of corporations who made lives of replicants short and meaningless in the first movie and replaced real human interactions with digital AI in the new Blade Runner. The fact that the owner of the most powerfull corporation is blind, may imply that he doesn’t have a soul, just like corporations who are only interested in making profits and disregard implication of their actions on society and environment.

When Wallace produces a replica of Rachael from her DNA, Dekart says that it is not Rachael because her eyes were green. Although Wallace could reproduce the body he didn’t get the eyes right, which once again links eyes to a person’s soul, and suggests that a soul cannot be manufactured just like Wallace with all disposable technology could not reproduce Rachael eyes.

Joy’s eye also seem to make an interesting point in the movie. When agent K is looking at the advertising, Joy’s eyes are black suggesting that the girl on the ad doesn’t have a personality yet and what you see is just a template that you can customize. Black eyes also make her look more like an actual product rather than a human being. Once you buy Joy, her personality and appearance are created to your taste, it even say on the ad “everything you want to hear"and in this way her “soul” will emerge. It is debatable wether the relationship between Joi and K was real however the lack of human looking eyes suggests that Joy at least on the ad doesn’t have a soul and cannot fully replace a real human.

Before Agent K kills Morton, he scans his eye and we see a serial number. After killing the replicant, the agent rips off the eye completely and carries it to the police station. As you probably guessed, scaning Morton’s eye is an equivalent at judging one’s soul. Taking off the eye symbolizes destroying Morton’s soul or stating that he is not worthy of having a soul because he’s a replicant.

Towards the end of the movie, a Woman is sunglasses that was following agent K reveals her face and we can see that her right eye is missing.

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