A Scanner Darkly – Review


A Scanner Darkly is a movie based on a story by PK Dick who has a lot of stories already adapted for the screen and has influenced many others. In recent years you have Minority Report, before that you have Total Recall and Blade Runner.

The Main character in A Scanner Darkly is Bob Arctor played by Keanu Reeves, he’s an undercover agent who is living as a drug user on the drug of the near future Substance D. His co stars include Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Junior and Winona Ryder. They play the parts of his drug buddies who frequent his house all appear to be in varying states of mental dissaray. Under the influence of Substance D, officer Bob has routine tests to monitor his condition and is struggling under the increasing pressures that are mounting around him.

The most striking thing about the movie is the way it looks, you wont have seen anything quite like it before, unless you caught the movie Waking Life which employed a similar technique back in 2001. The bright colours and solid tones of A scanner Darkly give the movie an animated surreal look and bely the underlying darkness of the story and the movie as a whole. Keanu is well suited to the main character and Winona Ryder and Robert Downey Jnr. give twitchy and immersive performances. The movie actually deals with some pretty heavy themes and viewpoints.

A lot of the scenes in the movie are solid and punchy with strong contrast between the characters personalities and perspectives, both real and imagined. This is what keeps you watching as the story unfolds slowly you are given just enough to keep you wondering, its a nicely paced movie, just lacking something and i’m not exactly sure what it is missing.

Overall the movie has in its favour, its strong visual style and its dark and quirky storyline which will make you think more than your summer blockbuster. Those looking for something different should consider giving A Scanner Darkly a try.