A Scanner Darkly

I finally saw it. Here is the review:

A Scanner Darkly

I never really finished the Philip K. Dick novel, on which this movie was based. I remember starting it, and then for some reason putting it away half way through. I never really went back to finish it, nor did I ever really want to.

So I figured that watching the movie will help me decide to dig out the book, and finally get done with it. From what I heard the movie is relatively faithful to the original. I don’t remember much detail anymore, but what I saw on screen seemed to parallel the book quite closely.

It’s hard to describe the impression you get after watching this movie. Its a little bit like a strange dream that seems relatively vivid when you are dreaming it, but then turns out to be bleak, and just plain odd when you wake up. That is essentially “A Scanner Darkly”.

If you want to see a movie about the destructive effects of drugs on people’s lives this is probably not what you are looking for. I have seen much more disturbing and shocking portrayals of drug addiction elsewhere.

In ASD you simply see campy, vacuous, half dazed vegetative existence of bunch of Substance-D addicts. They don’t really do anything exciting. In fact they hardly do anything, except talking and popping pills now and then.

If they were all a little bit younger, you would think that you are watching a sitcom about a bunch of college kids. Their biggest life dilemmas are things like figuring out how many gears does their new bicycle have, or making a home made gun silencer from duct tape.

The only indication that this is not a bunch of campy sitcom roommates is the fact that their minds are slowly deteriorating. Most of the character suffer from some subtle form of psychosis, paranoia or hallucinations.

But if you expect a psychological thriller or tightly plotted, mind boggling drama you might also be disappointed. There is not much drama, suspense or excitement in this movie. Things just happen, sort of in a subdued daze. It is more of a Kafkaesque experience than anything else. The rotoscoping technique used to film the movie really helps to reinforce this dream-like experience.

Things just happen to Bob Arctor and most of the time he is powerless to do anything about it. In fact, he can hardly make sense of his own life, because of the damage Substance D has done to his brain. It’s as if his fate has been sealed, and preordained and only thing he can do now is to go with the flow, and try to understand what is going on around him.

The viewer in a way has to share his fate, being dragged through the faded dreamscape of Substance-D addicted America.

My rating: 3.5 stars

What did you think about it?

[tags]philip k dick, scanner, a scanner darkly, movie, review[/tags]

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2 Responses to A Scanner Darkly

  1. StarHawk UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Ah this is one of my favorite books, certainly the best by Dick. I think I tried to live that life when I was young, either that or Fear and Loathing. Lmao. I still haven’t saw the movie, hmmm….Perhaps I need to. Movies based on Books I’ve read usually disappoint me tho. Still I’ll see it one day.

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  2. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    From what I heard, the movie is really close to the book. Not exactly LOTR close, but close enough.

    And it seemed relatively close to me, but then again I hardly remember anything from the book anymore.

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