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A movie directed by Richard Linklater

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Mysterious, Elusive, Visually Palpable

  • Jul 23, 2010

The first aspect that is noted within this movie is the animation projection. It is called interpolated rotoscope, meaning that the film was first camera-shot and then animated over the original footage. This is what gives the story its dreamlike quality. The way the film was made is the perfect medium for this story, and I believe it delivers something especially unique.

The film tells the story of a new earth dystopia where millions of people have been hopelessly addicted to a drug dubbed Substance D, derived from a small blue flower. In response to the mass addiction, the government adapts an extremely high-tech surveillance system that not only includes the technological advancements of cameras and sound-bugs and a coat-like garment that allows the wearer to remain completely free of identity, but under-cover agents working to detect addicts and dealers. 
Our protagonist, Bob/Fred/Arctor, is an under-cover agent who has in fact become addicted to Substance D himself. The plot unfolds as Arctor confuses his daily job with real-life drug-world submersion.

This movie is fairly obscure but should be given tons of credit for animation, plot, conversation and wonderful characterization. The drug-induced conversations often dabbled with extreme paranoia that most often take place in the home of Arctor and his housemates are extremely entertaining. The characters jump from the screen, each one reminding you of someone you may know. And the perfect exemplification of a life filled with drug addiction is definitely to be appreciated. Viewers will walk away from this film both stunned and holding a new perspective on drugs and government, drug-free and addicted alike.

Rating = 9/10

Mysterious, Elusive, Visually Palpable Mysterious, Elusive, Visually Palpable Mysterious, Elusive, Visually Palpable Mysterious, Elusive, Visually Palpable

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July 23, 2010
wonderful review! I am glad you liked this movie too!
July 23, 2010
First of all, I really enjoyed your review. Secondly, I'm so glad to have found another person who appreciates this film as you do. I've only met three people who really understood the complex plot and the tone that the filmmakers were going for. Nicely done, and welcome to Lunch!
July 23, 2010
Thanks much! It is a great film not to be overlooked by anyone with a brain. I'm really glad there are people out there like you.
More A Scanner Darkly reviews
review by . January 21, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
The Cast
WARNING: This review contains spoilers!   Based upon what may be Philip K. Dick's most personal novel, the film A Scanner Darkly is an awe-inspiring "science fiction" film directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused and Waking Life). Linklater, who also wrote the screenplay, has done a remarkable job in staying as close as possible to Philip K. Dick's original story. In fact, out of all of the many films adapted or inspired by his work, A Scanner Darkly may be the most faithful. …
review by . November 02, 2008
A Scanner Darkly
To fully understand the movie, you'd have to read the book first. But to fully appreciate the movie, its best to have not read the book and have an open mind to the differences.     The plot: Charles Freck (Rory Cochrane) is covered in aphids. At least he thinks so. Freck hangs out with Barris (Robert Downey Jr.) and Luckman (Woody Harrelson) and Bob Arctor's girlfriend Donna (Winona Ryder).     What Bob's roommates don't know is that there is more to Bob …
review by . March 07, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Interesting story and decent interpretation      Cons: Predictable and the acting was only so-so      The Bottom Line: It is ultimately predictable but the strength of the story (once you get into it) makes the predictability just a minor nuisance.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.      A Scanner Darkly a Philip K. Dick novel adapted for the screen by Richard …
review by . February 01, 2007
The first thing that strikes you about `A Scanner Darkly' is the animation. Innovative from the first frame, the only comparisons I can come up with is an advanced, artful leap from `Adult Swim' from The Cartoon Network or the adults' version of `The Polar Express'. Easily more fluid than either, the animation at first may come off as unnecessary, flashy, or just plain irritating. But once you get your brain hemispheres adjusted, you realize there is real method to the madness. But, oh boy, what …
review by . December 27, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Those who criticise this film for lacking in narrative drive are either missing the point or had been expecting something different. It is true that there is very little "plot" here (until the end), and much of the film involves sitting around the house, hanging out with Bob Arctor and his various friends and associates. The majority of the screen time in this film is devoted to establishing an atmosphere (and leaving a few hints about a larger plot) within which the central twist of the story will …
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Megan Fortin ()
Ranked #933
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About this movie


Starring Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson
Directed by Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater (screenplay) Philip K.. Dick (Novel)
Based on the novel 'A Scanner Darkly' by Philip K. Dick
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