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
Both the lodge number and Arctor's house address are "709". This is a reference to the famed Austin satirical rock band "Uranium Savages", who use 709 as a "secret" number. All Uranium Savages fans are familiar with this and the director likely inserted the number as homage to the band. See more »
At New-Path, the pool of Bob's vomit disappears and reappears between shots. 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 »
For some reason I can't get separate the way I feel about Radiohead's Kid A and Amnesiac albums from the way I feel about this movie. If you love adult sci-fi that is complex and strangely moving then this is a must see movie. This captures Philip K. Dick's spirit better than any movie since BLADERUNNER and is even more difficult to pin a reaction on. SCANNER is a more intimate film. Anybody who has seen Richard Linklater's mind boggling WAKING LIFE will be instantly familiar (and comfortable) with the way SCANNER looks. The rotoscoping technique doesn't seem that much further evolved from WAKING except for the scrambler suit whose effect is a continuous wonder to behold. The look beautifully suits the story because they both speak to the large disconnect that has happened in our society via technology. Interpersonal and immediately accessible intercommunication devices have allowed us to avoid real communication and immediate interaction with our surroundings and the people who inhabit them at any moment on a grander scale than ever before. I find it rather depressing and annoying when my current reality in interrupted by a bloody cell phone (unless, of course, it is mine that is ringing). Dick's work often addressed alienation and sinking so far into your own that reality became a liquid element usually washing us up onto the shores paranoia and madness. SCANNER evokes this strangeness in a way few movies ever have.
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