A Scanner Darkly

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A Scanner Darkly

Postby Sir Francis Drake on Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:20 am

This past weekend the spouse and I took in "A Scanner Darkly". This is a movie based on a novel by Philip K. Dick and rendered in rotoscopic form by Richard Linklater, who also made the film "Waking Life".

The film was shot with live actors (Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson, Winona Rider) and then transformed into a cartoonish quality through use of computer posterization and creative elaborations by Linklater.

It is a science-fiction story about the very near future when 20% of the population is addicted to a drug called Substance D (which I interpreted to be as in "D: all of the above"). A narc officer (Reeves) has been working undercover on the survelliance of a drug house in order to discover who is supplying the heads therein with the drug. Unfortunately, he too has become addicted and is in love with the supplier (Ryder).

The narc agency remains anonymous through use of special suits which camoflage the wearer to look like anyone and everyone by constantly shifting personas. The animated interpretation of this concept is quite odd and disconcerting and I don't know if they could have gotten away with in in any form of art other than the one they chose. This also works well to convey the sudden hallucinations of the addicts.

Now, I don't know whether it was because Auntie Dee Dee brought up the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers last week (a much beloved underground comic about three pot heads), but right smack in the middle of it, I suddenly found myself watching what looked like a movie about Phineas, Franklin and Fat Freddy. I mean, OMFSM, would Woody Harrelson make a great Fat Freddy or what?! (And yes, they have a cat!)What starts and ends as a very serious movie is buffered in the middle by the very comedic antics of these three guys going through the drug-induced states of enthusiasm, over analyses and straight to paranoia. I was not expecting to laugh, but I did. It was delightful in a weird sort of way.

Some of the acting is over the top (Rory Cochrane is like a living caracature), but I learned to deal with it by accepting it on the level of a cartoon. The unrealness opened a window onto the skewed perception of the addicted and I think it worked quite well. After all the fun in the middle, the last part sobered me up enough to go back into the real world again, grateful for whatever ability I have to think straight.

Go see it, go go go.
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Postby mia primavera on Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:34 pm

Yay, I'm glad someone brought up this film. I also just saw it recently, and i think it is one of the better book-to-film adaptations to make it to the screen. I agree that many characters were cariacatures, but I know (from firsthand experience, unfortunately) that many physically addictive drugs can turn someone into a cariacature, very easily. I thought the animation was masterfully done and was the perfect medium to explore the paranoid, hallucinatory world of these people. And btw, the book, by Philip K. Dick, is well worth reading. It's the only book by him that I've read, and I hear it's one of his best.
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Postby kat on Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:18 pm

My wife and I just reread it last week, with the intention of seeing the movie when it gets to the cheap place.

(which we suspect will be soon)
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Postby Sir Francis Drake on Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:05 pm

We had to drive to an "art house" cinema to find it, but they did offer a bargain matinee, which helped.

I look forward to seeing it again, but may have to wait until IFC shows it.
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A Scanner Darkly

Postby PastaServer134 on Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:47 pm

From: A Scanner Darkly 1977 by Philip K. Dick
>
> "... 'In my forefathers' time one day a
> ninety-foot-high block of extremely
> good quality Afghanistan hash worth eight trillion
> dollars came at us
> dripping fire and screaming, "Die, Eskimo dogs!" and
> we fought and fought
> with it, using our spears, and finally killed it.'
>
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Postby deadgenome on Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:07 pm

I knew E.Razer was PKD in disguise
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Postby SpaghettiSawUs on Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:52 am

Never seen this one (will now though) but on the subject of addiction I love Requiem for a Dream by Darren Aronofsky, its fantastic (same guy did PI, also weird and wonderful).
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Postby deadgenome on Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:00 pm

Finally watched ASD and think that it could well be an animated narcotic, more addictive than crack and twice as dangerous.
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