A Scanner Oddly

Posted Feb 04, 2007 in Movies, Science Fiction.

I saw Richard Linklater's interesting interpretation of Philip K. Dick's dystopian psychological novel A Scanner Darkly. I haven't really been exposed to much of the author's work, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The movie painted a bleak picture of the near future. In the story, the fight against drugs has essentially failed, and the police have been forced to deploy sophisticated technologies in an attempt to reveal the secrets of the trade in “Substance D” and other crimes. Linklater has made extensive use of rotoscoping to give the movie the look and feel of an animated feature. The technique complements the blurred reality of the plot extremely well. Of particular note is a great performance by Rory Cochrane as a nervous, hallucinating addict.

The film should only be considered science fiction in the most tenuous sense. This kind of depressing, near-future storytelling has become very common, with classic science fiction taking a bit of a back seat recently. I found it a little dull, with long periods of inactivity punctuated by a rapidly-chattering Robert Downey, Jr. and bug animations; nevertheless, I am glad I had the chance to see it - if only to sample Linklater's clever rotoscoping technique.


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    You know, I've yet to see the movie in its entirety, but believe I will.

    The visual style/aesthetic alone is worth watching, but from the 20 minutes I watched in a teaser it seemed like the subject matter was many layers deep.

    I hear Linklater is supposed to be at this year's SXSW, so that should be a treat.

    Posted by kartooner on Feb 06, 2007.