Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

A Scanner Darkly (2006) – 4 Paranoid Pineapple Expresses

A Scanner Darkly (2006) – 4 Paranoid Pineapple Expresses

A Scanner Darkly is set in a not-too-distant future where America has lost its “war” on drugs, Fred, an undercover cop, is one of many people hooked on the popular drug, Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities. Fred is obsessed with taking down Bob, a notorious drug dealer, but due to his Substance D addiction, he does not know that he is also Bob. Based on a classic novel by Philip K. Dick.


Keanu Reeves (“Constantine,” “The Matrix” trilogy)
Winona Ryder (“Girl, Interupted,” “Mr. Deeds”),
Robert Downey Jr. (“Good Night, And Good Luck” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”)
Woody Harrelson (“North Country,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt”).

Directed by:
Richard Linklater (“Before Sunset,” “Dazed and Confused”).

Review by Ben Dover:

A Scanner Darkly (2006) – 4 Paranoid Pineapple Expresses

Well I’ll be… After slogging through so much Hollywood pap and blockbuster drivel aimed at bratty teens, it’s refreshing to finally come across a smart, daring piece of cinema that rekindles my dying brain cells. Even if it is about a bunch of stoner burnouts.

Based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, this dark and trippy sci-fi number from Richard Linklater really bent my mind into a pretzel. The story follows an undercover narc named Fred (the great Keanu Reeves) trying to bust some major players in the drug trade of the future. The problem? He’s hopelessly addicted to the reality-warping “Substance D” like the very junkies he’s spying on.

This flick looks like a graphic novel brought to life with its unique rotoscoping animation. The visuals are eye-poppingly surreal and psychedelic, like the entire movie was licked by a Grateful Dead-loving frog. Between the swirling colors, twisted reality shifts, and hidden identity games, I felt just as paranoid as poor old Fred.

Robert Downey Jr. shines (for once) as Fred’s eccentric dealer, rambling on with quasi-philosophical musings that’ll Have you questioning your own perception. The rest of the cast like Woody Harrelson and Winona Ryder nail the sketchball vibe of the druggies devolving into total burnouts. Honestly, these sad sacks make the stoner characters from That 70s Show look like honors students.

While the plot gets pretty wonky and cerebral at times, Scanner keeps you hooked with its haunting visuals and bleak satire about the futility of the War on Drugs. It’s like Trainspotting by way of The Twilight Zone – an uncompromising head trip that’ll have you re-evaluating your life choices.

So for all you youths out there still possessing brain cells to fry, skip the whiz-bang CGI spectacles and experience this mind-melting piece of true counterculture cinema. Just don’t go anywhere near Substance D or you might wind up like those poor saps – drooling into your bong, flushing your future down the toilet. Ah youth, wasted on the young…


Gross worldwide:
7.6 million

8.7 million

Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes

Filmed in live-action, and then animated using the same critically acclaimed process that Linklater used in his previous film, “Waking Life.”

Filming was completed in twenty-three days. The animation took eighteen months.

A Scanner Darkly is based on Philip K. Dick’s personal drug experiences.


Barris: There’s only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!

Fred: What does a scanner see? Into the head? Into the heart? Does it see into me? Clearly? Or darkly?

Barris: This is a world getting progressively worse. Can we not agree on that?

Freck: The living should not serve the purposes of the dead. But the dead should, if at all possible, be used to serve the purposes of the living.

Critics Consensus:

Critics 68% Audience 74% Rotten Tomatoes

A faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, A Scanner Darkly takes the viewer on a visual and mind-blowing journey into the author’s conception of a drug-addled and politically unstable world…


AI Images:

By Michael

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