A Scanner Darkly review

An undercover cop in a not too distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.

This film is so visually striking its hard not to love. Its filmed in a very interesting style, fitting with the futuristic element of the story. The plot is quite complex, but it doesn’t detract from the overall film, and its not hard to gather  in the end!

scanner-darkly-5Its live action film made to look animated using roto-scoping, which is really aesthetically pleasing and gives it a fantastic overall atmosphere and feel. The opening sequence is so striking; the music and the visuals work together to make it gripping from the beginning. There is no dialogue for the first, perhaps five to ten minutes of the film, which for me makes it even more interesting and exciting.

The entire film has a very interesting feel about it, like no other film I’ve seen before. The subject and theme is quite dark, and the animation effect allows the futuristic element to be even stranger; for example the scramble suits that show you as a moving blur of different identities to hid your own, without making it seem silly or unbelievable.

The film and the story represents the bad experiences linked with drug use in an exaggerated, hyper-real environment. From my understanding of the novel, the story explores Philip K Dick’s negative feelings towards drugs and the effect they have on society; the film is not plot or story driven.

scanner-threeThe film is very dream like and bizarre, working with the theme of drug use. It throws you into a hyper reality so detached from what we know that its darkly funny and cleverly entertaining. A thriller by definition, A Scanner Darkly explores the dark paranoia within the minds of people ravaged by drugs. Although some of the consequences are quite funny, it is a case of laughter with knives, as ultimately the undertones are dark and thought provoking.

Its  very intelligent, and is visually beautiful. The atmosphere of the film is very cleverly inspired by drug induced experiences, making it even more absorbing.

The cast is fantastic; Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr in particular provide much of the humor. Its very clever, and although difficult to follow at times, it serves to highlight and suggest subtly how the real world is slowly becoming like the worlds’ portrayed in comic books.


5 thoughts on “A Scanner Darkly review

    1. Haha I was skeptical too…everything I’ve seen him in I’ve hated! He’s so terrible. But this film is pretty good, the rest of the cast outweighs Reeves’ terrible acting! 😛


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