In 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Casting a shadow over everything is the city's largest company, Avalon, which insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export -- youth and beauty. In this world of stark contrasts and rigid laws the populace is kept in line and accounted for.
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
When Bob leaves Donna's apartment after she rejected him because of "snorting too much coke", Donna runs after him barefoot. In the parking lot however she suddenly wears sandals. 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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At the start of the ending credits, the following text appears: This has been a story about people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. I loved them all. Here is a list, to whom I dedicate my love: To Gaylene, deceased To Ray, deceased To Francy, permanent psychosis To Kathy, permanent brain damage To Jim, deceased To Val, massive permanent brain damage To Nancy, permanent psychosis To Joanne, permanent brain damage To Maren, deceased To Nick, deceased To Terry, deceased To Dennis, deceased To Phil, permanent pancreatic damage To Sue, permanent vascular damage To Jerri, permanent psychosis and vascular damage ...and so forth In memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; There are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them play again, in some other way, and let them be happy. Philip K. Dick See more »
I've never written a review on this site before, but since I've just been at the first screening of this movie at Brandeis, I feel like writing a few comments. First of all, visually this movie is incredible. The roto-scoping is a vast improvement over Waking Life (and that's on a crappy screen with the film only 95% completed.) Despite the overall dark nature of the film, the dialogue is at times hilarious, and at the screening the audience erupted into laughter several times. Now, on to the story itself. I never read the Phillip K. Dick novel, but from what I could tell, the movie stays faithful. This is not a popcorn thriller; like I said, it is very dark. As the producer Erwin Stoff said after the showing, the movie reflects the bad experiences Dick had with drugs during his life. Apparently the producers bought the rights to the book from Dick's daughters at a reduced rate because they promised to be faithful to his vision, and I could definitely see the effort that was put in in order to accomplish that. Overall, I enjoyed this movie very much. Admittedly, it was hard to follow at times. But, as with the other Linklater films that I have seen, A Scanner Darkly is worth seeing for the interesting dialogue, esoteric characters (especially Robert Downey Jr and Woody Harrelson, who provide many of the films laughs), and stunning visuals. It is not a plot-driven movie at all; the story as described in the IMDb summary, which is more or less accurate, is just a framework from which to express Dick's stark and angry vision of the ravages of drugs on society. Those seeking visceral excitement will be disappointed, but those looking for an intelligent, bleakly funny, dream-like, thought provoking experience that is incredibly grim yet not entirely hopeless, will be rewarded. A Scanner Darkly is definitely not for everybody, because its pacing and animation style are not mainstream(the same is true of its release schedule: only 4 theaters on July 7, 8 the next week, and so on). However, for fans of Linklater and/or Dick, this is no doubt a must see, and you should mark July 7th on your calendar.
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