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A Scanner Darkly

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Keanu Reeves, A Scanner Darkly, 2006

Last Friday I went to see A Scanner Darkly, the newest rotoscopic Richard Linklater movie, the filmic incarnation of the drug-addled novel by the late Philip K. Dick.
Maybe you saw Waking Life back in 2001. If you’re like me, you were fascinated by the animation technique and its fluidity and beauty, but confused and slightly let down by the plot and the way it was directed. A Waking Life has a lot of potential to be a thought provoking movie, but, like What the Bleep Do We Know it falls pathetically short of its aspirations.

Granted, both A Waking Life and What the Bleep do try to philosophically explain the unexplained to the view, and it’s a decent effort, but they both are really miserable and seem very sophomoric. The problem lies in the director(s) trying to translate our muddled ideas on spirituality and metaphysics into little vignettes that we can consume like so many little compartments in a tv dinner. Doesn’t work, and it just comes off as pretentious or tedious. Both.

However, after learning that A Scanner Darkly was based off of an acclaimed science fiction novelist, I was kind of interested. Plus I saw the trailer (posted at the bottom of this entry) and I have to admit, it looks really cool.

Yeah, it’s another science fiction movie involving future drugs and Keanu Reeves. Nothing new here. But after seeing it, I’ll say that I thought it was actually pretty good. Keanu does a good job, and there’s no trace of his pot head accent in this movie, which is such a plus. One of his better roles, and I can certainly say the same for Woody Harrleson and Robert Downey Junior, who are both spectacular. Winona Ryder, disappointingly, is kinda boring. But maybe that was her character.

The rotoscope technique couldn’t have better fit story, it’s about a bunch of druggies who are all addicted to this drug from the future (1994 in the novel) called Slow Death, which they refer to in the movie as “Substance D.” It’s a cool story, if not a little discombobulated, and the ending is good but depressing. Anyway, if you are interested in the animation, you won’t be disappointed. It’s incredible. Plus the music is really good.

I’m no movie reviewer so I’m not here to discuss the finer cinematic points of A Scanner Darkly. I just wanted to mention the gut reaction I got from the movie, which I think has only a small amount to do with the plot, and mostly to do with me being at a certain place in my life and then seeing this movie….

Well, I would go on, but I’m bored of typing and have to leave soon.

Ah well, maybe more later.
This is so rambly I’ll probably just delete it later.

If you want to watch the trailer:


Currently listening to “Dollars and Cents” by Radiohead


Written by pocheco

July 13, 2006 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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