A Scanner Darkly (15)

THE drug-addled writing of sci-fi author Philip K Dick gets a suitably experimental treatment in Richard Linklater s latest, A Scanner Darkly. Using the same rotoscoping technique he used in Waking Life, the film was shot as live action with animation b

THE drug-addled writing of sci-fi author Philip K Dick gets a suitably experimental treatment in Richard Linklater's latest, A Scanner Darkly.

Using the same 'rotoscoping' technique he used in Waking Life, the film was shot as live action with animation being 'painted' on afterward to create a surreal feel.

The story, set in the not-too-distant future, is based around Keanu Reeves as an undercover drug cop who is himself addicted to the latest designer drug, Substance D.

When necessary, he wears a suit which blurs his face, meaning that nobody, sometimes even himself, knows who he really is. Things get even more complicated when he finds himself targeting himself in a big sting.


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The cast, many of whom have had their own brushes with substance abuse, includes Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson as fellow stoners and Winona Ryder as the equally-addicted love interest.

There is a certain amount of pseudo waffle going on here with plenty of self-indulgent stoner dialogue but the film does have a certain amount of depth, with subtexts of Big Brother watching you.

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While A Scanner Darkly doesn't quite work - there are times when it drags - it is a striking looking film. Other Dick adaptations have ranged from the downright awful to much-admired movies such as Blade Runner and, while A Scanner Darkly isn't at the top of that range, it is at least a good effort.

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