Cyberpunk Genre and Culture
In the context of cinema, cyberpunk is classified as a subgenre of science-fiction and tends to focus on a combination of high-tech low-life concept. Cyberpunk deals with the radical changes in the social order and society while humanity achieving technological and scientific developments. Cyberpunk makes people question the technology, authority and the progression of humanity. Cyberpunk is not just a genre, it is actually a lifestyle for many. Its influence can be seen on not only cinema and pop culture but also on some architectural structures that are highly influenced by cyberpunk aesthetics.
Cyberpunk movies intentionally disturbs the audiences in order to call them to act like a rebellious way against the threat of governments, corporations, etc...
What are the common narratives?
In general, the atmosphere of cyberpunk movies reflects the film-noir genre. Thus, dark atmosphere and detective film elements are widely seen. In addition, the genre identified with neon lights and a dystopic environment. Films of the genre are mostly set in the near future Earth rather than the long-distance galaxies and far times. In this near future, a typical cyberpunk fiction would depicts a chaotic society that hosts street gangs, multinational corporations, and people who live in poverty. Also, a cyberpunk city is depicted as a place where elites living in high technology and crowds living on hunger border live together (See Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927)) .
What are the best cyberpunk movies?
The Best known and quintessential example of cyberpunk in the cinema is Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner which is loosely based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. The film is set in a dystopic future of 21st century Los Angeles. Blade Runner is regarded as a cult movie and one of the best sci-fi films of all time. Blade Runner 2049 which is directed by Denis Villeneuve and released in 2017 is a sequel to the film. Also, the film is one of the favorite movies of the director Christopher Nolan. (See others)
Also, two years ago, the 30th anniversary of the great animation Akira (1988) was celebrated. The Japanese post-apocalyptic anime is based on Otomo's 1982 manga of the same name. Akira is a very important anime that made a global impact on popular culture. Besides, Ghost In The Shell (1995) is also successful cyberpunk anime. Alex Garland's Ex Machina (2015) relatively new film that also told the different story between human and artificial intelligence. 12 Monkeys (1995) is also a successful movie which is directed by Terry Gilliam.
Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall (1990) movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone was one of the most expensive films made at the time it released. The movie is loosely based on the short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" which is written by Philip K. Dick.
Above all, There can be a separate section for Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski's The Matrix (1999) movie. The film can be described as thought-provoking, cyberpunk, and action movie which tolds a very intelligent dystopic story about a war between Human vs Machines. Besides the strong philosophical depth of the movie, the action scenes were very stunning. The Matrix (1999) can be said that some of the most successful cyberpunk films and also very influential movie on popular culture.
If you haven't watched any cyberpunk film, it deserves a chance to shot. Here, the full list of great cyberpunk movies to watch.