A Scanner Darkly (Widescreen)
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Scanner Darkly, A (DVD)
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
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Top customer reviews
Scanner Darkly is one of those movies that didn't connect with me,
didn't assert its reality, until about the last 15 minutes.
And when it turned into "Whoa", it wasn't about plot twists or
mental coruscations, it was about the characters as individuals,
and their emotions. This movie has a heart.
Part of it for me was watching the 1st half one night, and the 2nd
half the next night. That allowed me to watch the Commentary right
after the movie, which pointed out a great deal of detail and nuance.
There's a lot more going on in this movie than just Rotoscoping.
I haven't read the book, nor any of PKD's work, except 1 short story,
a long long time ago, which I still vividly remember. So for me,
background on PKD provided by his daughter in the Commentary is great.
Scanner Darkly has, believe it or not, a lot of autobiographical aspects.
Some of the choices he made, and some of the voice-over, is wrenching.
The Commentary therefor speaks directly to PKD's visionary insights and
perspectives on what seems like a fairly mundane, boring world he lived
in then, and we live in today. And make no mistake, his vision applies
as much today, if not more so, than back then. Its highly topical, and
the Commentary gets into this topical aspect in good detail.
For fans of Keanu Reeves, and the other stars here, I think this is
excellent work by the actors, but in order to appreciate their work,
you have to find your connection with the movie. It takes a little
effort, but its highly worthwhile.
As I write this, there are blurbs about a mega-budget movie Reeves is
in, "47 Ronin". Some say its his big comeback from the Matrix. But
Scanner Darkly shows that Reeves took a very challenging role in a very
different kind of movie, and he performed superbly. In the end, Reeves
brings Bob Arctor up to the same tragic/heroic level as Neo Anderson:
--- "A present for my friends, at Thanksgiving." ---
And the same holds true for all the stars. In such a vision-heavy
story, they all bring the acting up to the level necessary to make the
characters come alive. Subtle sometimes, vivid other times. Superb.
Scanner Darkly is the kind of movie where I wonder why it didn't sell
$150-200 million at the box office, like, say, "Limitless". Being a
small, independent production shouldn't preclude commercial success.
Maybe not an easy movie, but a very good movie.
The use of the "anonymity suits" is a really fascinating idea, and unlike Waking Life, the plot does not waver, it is solid, keeps you guessing, and ultimately has a great ending. The epilogue from Philip K. Dick's original novel remains in-tact, as well, which seemed like a really commendable thing to do.
It's also worth noting that all of the actors were extremely professional, and seemed incredibly immersed in their roles. Very good work.
Overall, great film.
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