In a totalitarian society in a near future, the undercover detective Bob Arctor 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 Arctor sits on the stage waiting to give his speech to the Brown Bear Lodge, one of the images his scramble suit displays is Philip K. Dick. This is a clever reference to the novel, in which the scramble suit is said to show the likeness of its creator once in every several million permutations. See more »
While Bob/Fred is giving a speech at the NewPath building, he takes his arms off the Podium and turns his side to the crowd. In the next shot, he's facing forward and his hands are on the podium again. 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 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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