Blade Runner 2049 reviews

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. Tying in with the release of Blade Runner 2049, this week’s edition asks the question that is on everyone’s mind: “What is your favorite coat or jacket in movie history?” What? Did you think we were going to go with “favorite sci-fi dystopia”?

Blade Runner

Jacob Hall: Rick Deckard’s Coat in Blade Runner

Blade Runner‘s unique flavor of cool is derived from its collision of the past and the future. Here is a science fiction tale set in the distant future of 2019 (ha) that is paced and told like a film noir torn out of 1940s Hollywood. It’s very much a blend of instantly attractive aesthetics: a neon future where everything goes and a flashback to a time when the default clothing for any movie character was so much slicker and so much more stylish than anything we wear today.

And while director Ridley Scott and his crew do a fine job of balancing these elements in every frame of this masterpiece, it really does come down to that coat Harrison Ford wears throughout the movie. That coat is just plain cool and it’s just plain cool because it’s “Bogart in the future” – recognizable as a classic noir look, tweaked to fit a future where fashions have changed. It sits on the crossroads of old and new. No one has topped this.

mildred pierce

Hoai-Tran Bui: Mildred’s Shoulder-Padded Fur Coat in Mildred Pierce

Luxurious fur screams femme fatale just as much as shoulder pads scream Joan Crawford. So it’s natural that the two of them would combine in Crawford’s noir-melodrama Mildred Pierce. Clad in a lavish fur coat with her signature sharp shoulder pads and an embellished dress – this is how we’re introduced to Crawford’s shell-shocked Mildred Pierce at the beginning of the film. Softly lit by moonlight and street lamps with a tormented expression on her face, Crawford has all the markings of a classic noir femme fatale, especially as she begins to weave the tale of her life’s story leading up to her second husband’s murder.

It’s an ironic revelation then, that Mildred Pierce would end up being one of Crawford’s least glamorous roles. Mildred is a dowdy middle-class working mom who works her way up to being a successful businesswoman — albeit with a vain and greedy daughter. The fur coat is what bookends Mildred’s plainer outfits in this movie, much as the noir story envelops the melodramatic narrative. The fur coat too speaks to Joan Crawford’s own glamorous Hollywood image that inevitably creeps through the film — Crawford was indignant at giving up her fashionable frocks and shoulder pads in service to a working-class character. And so comes the fur coat: equal turns glamorous and gaudy, both like a working-class woman faking her wealth and like a Hollywood actress who can’t help showing a bit of flair.

mad max

Matt Donato: Max Rockatansky’s Armored Leather Jacket in Mad Max

While Mad Max: Fury Road may have been George Miller’s latest dystopian dirt-spitter, my favorite cinematic jacket turns back the filmmaker’s doomsday clock a few decades. Before Imperator Furiosa, before Tom Hardy, way before all the costumes got a sweet upgrade. To me, there’s nothing better than a classic, and it doesn’t get more classic than Mel Gibson’s lawman’s jacket in 1979’s Mad Max. Where it all began.

As a point of fashion, what desert-cruising desperado wouldn’t look positively renegade in black, streaky leather? Shoulder pads are bolted for “protection” – pretty minimal surface coverage, though – while a massive turn-down collar gives a bit of attitude (very cowboy-esque). It’s like biker-meets-functional-meets-gang-warfare, and what a dashing ensemble finisher it is. Metallic accents adding a final reflective touch. Be honest – who hasn’t envied a body-hugger like this in their lives?

As a defining characteristic, go ahead and picture Max without his warrior’s garb. Sans cover up, he’s just a regular, short-haired, leather-chapped roadster. The jacket is what helps Max stand out from the crowd. A symbol of power when glimpsed cruising down Australia’s savage roadways. Mad Max: Fury Road went hog-wild on costumes and makeup (same for Road Warrior/Thunderdome), but Mad Max was a more barebones action thriller. Zany and anarchistic, but still with restraints. So why is it whenever you think of Gibson’s first go as Max does everything you picture fade to black? The jacket envelopes all. Exactly.

It’s not bulletproof or magic, but for George Miller, Mad Max came to life because of the way Mel Gibson rocked that policeman’s uniform. On the poster, in the film, it doesn’t matter. Without the jacket, he’s just Max Rockatansky. Lame, right? But with the jacket, he’s Mad Max. Fighter of the Glory Riders, ruler of the motorway. One studly article of clothing so representative of strength, influence and runway appeal.

Plus, it just looks cool. Can’t that be enough sometimes?

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