Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music

Sunday, February 04, 2007

8. A Scanner Darkly

Dir. Richard Linklater
100 min; R

Linklater's Waking Life was a fascinating experiment of a film -- a series of vignettes about life and dreams shot on digital film and then animated over top. The result was a psychedelic, dreamlike film. And though it was interesting, the film (purposely) was not unified in visual style or narrative. If you were wondering what it would be like to take that style and apply it to a story in an effective manner, wonder no longer: A Scanner Darkly is such a work. Based on a novel by Phillip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), this film is a fascinating examination of identity, drugs, and a society that is frighteningly not too dissimilar to our own (a theme which comes up in more than one film on my list). Keanu Reeves is suprisingly effective in the film, playing his own "stoner" image
to tragic results. The first time I watched the film in the summer I enjoyed it a lot though I wasn't sure it would end up a favourite; a second viewing in the fall confirmed in my mind that it was a bold visionary statement. This film ranks among Linklater's best films (Before Sunset, Dazed & Confused) and while it is ostensibly science fiction, it also revisits the themes of human relationship and identity that seem to be Linklater's -- and Dick's -- interest.

1 comment:

Alex said...

A Scanner Darkly was fantastic. A definite must-see. I agree that this is one of Linklater's best films.