A Scanner Darkly
Here Is What You Need To Know:
Few films have a look as vibrant and original as A Scanner Darkly. It is one of those rare films that even if you don't like the plot, you don't care for the actors in the film or resent movies that deal with topics such as drug use, you should see it anyway. The film is so very interesting visually that you will never forget it. A Scanner Darkly was shot digitally then very painstakingly animated by a team of animators in a fashion that is similar to Waking Life. Based on the Philip K. Dick novel, A Scanner Darkly, is a woven story set a few years in the future where about 20 percent of the population is addicted to a powerful new drug called Substance D.
The cast of Hollywood big names is spearheaded by Keanu Reeves who plays Bob Arctor, an undercover agent as well as an assortment of real-life LA jailbirds such as Winona Ryder (Donna Hawthorne) and Robert Downey Jr as James Barris. All of the performances are strong, including Reeves who gives one of the best and maybe the best performance of his career. While most audience members might be left wishing for a little more action in the script there is no doubt that A Scanner Darkly delivers an experience few will forget.
What Was Cool:
-The scramble suits, a technological breakthrough that constantly shifts the appearance of the wearer from head to toe constantly, is one of the most hypnotic visuals of the last twenty years. When this film is shown in high-definition and next-generation DVD I am positive it will find a wider audience that will greatly appreciate the insane level of work that went into the film's creation.
-A Scanner Darkly does a great job in creating an intense feeling of paranoia and confusion that instead of repelling intelligent audience members pulls them in instead.
-Great acting all the way around as no one seems to just be showing up and collecting a paycheck. Very refreshing.
-Obviously, the visuals are freakishly cool and make A Scanner Darkly a must see.
What Was Stupid:
-Even on a limited budget there were opportunities to take advantage of the digital rotoscope technique, especially where concerning the outdoor scenes. This isn't stupid, just disappointing.
-The marketing of this film was handled poorly and it is a great shame
The Film's Real Genius or Geniuses:
-Director Richard Linklater establishes himself as part of Hollywood's future with this film.
-The behind the scenes on the DVD are not great, but they do give a great feel for how much extraordinary work went into the project. The animators really logged some serious hours on this one.
Use of Science B
Portrayal of Women A
Quality of Animation A+
Style/Sex Appeal B
Enjoyability Grade A
Home Theater/HD Factor A (This is a must have for any home theater and will be one of the high lights of next-generation DVD for years to come.)
Gut Check (Level of Studio Executive Guts) A
Overall Innovation A+ (The uniquely innovative look of A Scanner Darkly merits a look by any film fan.)
Overall Grade A ( Could the script have been more in line with the book? Sure. Could the script have befitted from picking up the pace a bit? Sure, but as it stands A Scanner Darkly is a must see.)
A Little Fact About Cherie:
-While I admire the fact that some female spiders eat their mate after sex, I am still scared of them.