In a totalitarian society in a near future, the undercover detective Bob Archor is working with a small time group of drug users trying to reach the big distributors of a brain-damaging drug called Substance D. His assignment is promoted by the recovery center New Path Corporation, and when Bob begins to lose his own identity and have schizophrenic behavior, he is submitted to tests to check his mental conditions. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(At around thirty minutes) In one scene, Barris unsuccessfully attempts to create a pistol silencer, disturbing the people around him with loud gunshots while testing it. Sherlock Holmes (2009) also features the main character, played by Robert Downey, Jr., doing this. See more »
(at around 10 mins) Arctor's residence, on the computer screen, is shown as Anahiem, California, a misspelling of Anaheim. The associated zip code, 98345 is for Keyport, Washington. See more »
[on the phone]
I looked them up. They're aphids. They're in my hair, on my skin, in my lungs. And the pain, Barris, it's unreasonable. They're all over the place. Oh, they've completely gotten Millie too.
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The "Phil" mentioned in the "in memoriam" list as having permanent pancreatic damage is Philip K. Dick himself. See more »
I am not a huge Linklater fan. His films usually give me a good laugh(Slacker, Dazed and Confused) or they present interesting concepts that will stir up good conversation(Waking Life) or they are for children(School of Rock). I don't consider him a great filmmaker but I would consider him an interesting storyteller and probably a great guy to talk to.
A Scanner Darkly changes everything. Even though Phillip K. Dick wrote it, Richard adapted the screenplay perfectly. I found that the film ran like a combination of Tarantinoesque chronology(Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs) and a Nolanesque confusion(Memento). The rotoscoping animation was used perfectly to highlight the cinematography. I left the theater with a sort of David Lynchish feel(Lost Highway, Mullholland Drive) but the plot lines were actually sewn up more neatly.
Having seen the film only once, in no way am I saying that A Scanner Darkly compares with the films I've mentioned, but with multiple viewings I am guessing that I may rank it somewhere close.
I can certainly see how someone that has never taken any psychedelics or ingested any type of psychotropic substance might feel less enthusiastic about some of the themes but I can't see them denouncing the film for that reason.
If you have ever gone on a "trip" then you will be instantly able to relate to some of the particular scenes.
I thought that everyone acted brilliantly in their particular roles. Keanu's agent should win some sort of award. Mr. Reeves is not in any way a credit to Shakespeare but his agent always seems to find certain roles that suit Keanu's tendencies.
I think it is undoubtable that this film becomes a cult classic. I hope it fares well at the box office because I would like to believe that the world is starting to appreciate good film more than it has of late.
If you enjoy a good "mind-bender" of a film that doesn't stop resonating in your head until days after you have seen it, then A Scanner Darkly is for you. If you go to the theater simply for spoon-fed entertainment, see this film anyway and hopefully you will wake up and have an original thought some time soon.
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