The co-writer of Blade Runner has seen things you people probably would believe.

It can be difficult to stand out when a film’s credits include names like Harrison Ford and Sir Run Run Shaw, which is why Hampton Fancher is largely unknown outside of the most devoted devotees of Blade Runner. Michael Almereyda’s documentary Escapes allows Fancher to tell his story of how he rose from a character actor in 1960s and ’70s to a co-writer and producer on the aforementioned 1982 cult film. Blade Runner led to — well, to not much else, really, apart from two more produced screenplays over the next 20 years. (Fancher has story and co-writing credit on the upcoming sequel, however.)

Ample use is made of footage from Fancher’s acting work to supplement his narration, and major sequences are told using on-screen text and only semi-related images, not unlike many a YouTube video. (There’s also a burst of the sort of casual anti-Mexican racism that is perhaps not unexpected from a 79-year-old white man, but no less disappointing considering his pride in writing Edward James Olmos’ most famous Blade Runner line.) How Almereyda and executive producer Wes Anderson landed on the generic title Escapes is unclear, but the resulting film is what The Kid Stays in the Picture might have been like if Robert Evans had lacked his driving ambition and peaked with Rosemary’s Baby.

Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.

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