A Scanner Darkly (Widescreen)
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America in the near future has lost the war against drugs. Paranoia reigns as 2 out of every 10 Americans have been hired by the government to spy on the other 8 in the name of national security and drug enforcement. Enter Fred, a reluctant undercover cop recruited by the government. To maintain his cover, Fred regularly ingests the popular Substance D. The drug has caused Fred to develop a split personality, of which he is unaware; his alter ego is Bob Arctor, a drug dealer. Fred's superiors set up a hidden holographic camera in his home as part of a sting operation to snare Bob. A "scramble suit" that changes his appearance allows Fred to appear on camera as Bob and prevents his colleagues from knowing his true identity. The camera in Fred/Bob's apartment reveals that Bob's friends regularly betray one another for the chance to score more drugs. Even Donna, a young dealer whom Bob/Fred loves, prefers the drug to human contact. Journey into the absurd, a place where identities and loyalties are impossible to decode, and where no one can be trusted--not even oneself. Welcome to the world of A Scanner Darkly.Less]]>
- Commentary by writer/director Richard Linklater, Keanu Reeves, producer Tommy Pallotta, author Jonathan Lethem, and Isa Hackett Dick (daughter of Philip K. Dick)
- "One Summer in Austin: The Story of Filming A Scanner Darkly" featurette
- "The Weight of the Line: Animation Tales" featurette
Top Customer Reviews
It's important to realize that Philip K Dick usually wrote about characters, not action sequences - and specifically, he wrote about those in society who did not "fit in" well. If you look through his stories, you'll find they often feature people who are misfits, who society overlooks or forgets. In A Scanner Darkly, the featured 'oddballs' are druggies hooked on Substance D - a drug that is never really described, but apparently causes paranoia and hallucinations.
The key here is to sit down with a glass of wine, a big bowl of popcorn and settle back for a character-driven story. This isn't a Rambo or Dirty Dozen story - it's about how people relate to each other, in many subtle ways. It's a study of interactions.
I really appreciate that this was done in a combination of real life acting and animation. It floors me that in modern times anyone might look down on this because it is a "cartoon". Is a Renoir less worthy than an Ansel Adams because a Renoir was done by hand? Animation isn't inherently kiddie. Hand drawn works can contain quite mature topics. In this case it is *ideally* suited to the story - because a main aspect of the tale is that the characters never quite know what is real and what is imagination. Are the bugs really there? Can he trust what he sees? All signs point to NO. The viewer is caught up in this same confused world. If this had been live action, then 'odd things' would have instantly stood out.Read more ›
Through the cinematic process of rotoscoping, Linklater has enabled the audience to feel the exact same way as Arctor does. Each frame of film was traced over and stylistically repainted, making the world the characters live in--as well as the characters themselves--look half like a cartoon and half like the physical realm. It was an absolutely incredible look, and I found that it gave the story an added dimension by representing a kind of realistic unreality (if that makes any sense at all). In that sense, it's almost symbolic that the undercover cops wear scramble suits, which are high tech cloaks with anatomical images that continuously shift from one to the next (apparently, a single suit can project millions of appearances).Read more ›
I am a little surprised at some of the reactions to this movie from people that couldn't understand it, or had trouble visualizing the movie with the unique animation, or didn't see the change in tone to a darker story that was blaringly obvious. To me the animation style was essential and even the scatter suits were reminiscent of the visualizations one gets on psychedelic drugs. The two doctors which were competing just like the two halves of his brain was amazing. The scene where he looks around his bosses desk and his visualizations aren't quite right is spine-tingling. The confused, paranoid, stoner scenes were brilliantly funny and equally disturbing but also very easy to follow. The performances particularly by Robert Downey Jr. were dead-on accurate, extremely entertaining personalities.
So don't be dissuaded by reviewers criticizing the specifics of the arresting animation, or who were confused by the plot and therefore thought it was thin and hard to follow. The problem in these cases lies with the viewer. This is a deeply emotional, easy to follow but very entertaining look at the drug subculture.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Do some drugs and watch this movie! Drugs aren't necessary to enjoy it but they ensure it makes sense.Published 10 days ago by RHB
This movie is the closest of all the movies made from the books to an actual a Phillip K Dick book.Published 1 month ago by sylvia quijas
This book was awesome, but the movie was a stinky turd. Such a good cast too.Published 1 month ago by WonkyFinger
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