Orange County, the future, Big Brother is watching everybody. Junkie Bob Arctor (Reeves) is hired by the government to spy on his naggy drugged fiend friends who won’t stop talking or/and going paranoid. Eu????
Although I've loved many of Writer/Director
previous films (Dazed and Confused
, Before Sunset
) I can’t that say that I was too pumped for A Scanner Darkly
His last “drawn over real people” opus (they call the technique roto scoping)
, bored me to hemorrhoids…and I just watched the first 20 minutes! But when I saw the
Darkly trailer, I felt some hope. The trippy feel appealed to
me and it was after all inspired by Sci Fi
staple Phillip K Dick's
most personal book (or so I was told).
Well 10 minutes into this pool that they called Darkly, the hope sank like a welfare check at the Casino. Now there is a
solid story here, if you look close enough and lend a deaf hear to the incessant
and self indulgent philosophical/existential/makes no f*cking sense
bla-bla-bla that plagued this film. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to ignore the aforementioned cancers, as they were the bulk of the flick. The characters didn’t help matters much either.
You know how every party has that loud a-hole ruining it for everybody
(that's usually me), well this film had two. Yup, we got two tweaker motor mouths that love to hear themselves talk (Harrelson and Jr.) and
on top of that, a coke
non-whore (Ryder) who should do less coke and more whoring.
Yeah I was rooting for
these champs big time…rooting for them to kick the bucket already so I could go on with my freaking day!
Was I supposed to laugh at these people? Care? Feel? Who knows! All I go was
"severely annoyed". And that was the film's main pitfall. I mean, Requiem for a Dream managed to make me
give a hoot for its drug addicted
characters, I cried with them while Trainspotting had me laughing it up!
Scanner Darkly on the other end, totally shut me out. I felt like I was
hearing endless jokes/conversations that I wasn't in on, hence the humor and the substance went over
Only the self-pitying lead ably played by Reeves semi interested me. His
“inner searching” made him human and the fact that he didn’t yap away like it
was a blabbermouth contest made my day. Sadly he wasn't emphasized
upon enough for me.. Thankfully the last 20 minutes or so started to feel like a
movie, communicating a cohesive storyline as opposed to a using a semblance of a
storyline to converse lots of “far-out", self stroking and vacuous ramblings..
Any other positives apart from that? Sure, I did respect the film's ambition as
its peculiar animation application was
mucho groovy and gave thewhole a trip-out, arresting look. A couple nifty and well
executed ideas kicked in as well (loved that morphing suit) while the fine actors working it
provided for some enjoyment. Finally the theme of foggy identity was compelling
when I got it and the symbolism that came with it occasionally hooked me in.
Sadly that wasn’t enough to diminish my anger towards the uber pretentiousness of it all and
the non-stop the irritation I felt from the constant verbal BS being vomited my
way. There was a potentially poignant Sci Fi tale in there, one that could've worked as a statement on society (then
and today). But all that was muffled out by high brow
bull-crap, unlikable/annoying characters and a knack at NOT letting the main
narrative line breathe...the one that interested me anyways. Scan this!
There was one blown up head gag that worked well early on and some puking, other than that…nada.
Keanu Reeves (Fred/Bob Arctor) down-played and efficiently tapped into the somber and confusing state of his character. Robert Downey (Barris) and Woody Harrelson (Luckman) did a WONDROUS job at playing doped losers that happened to aggravate the shite out of me. Winona Ryder (Donna) played Ethan Hawke, playing Winona Rider. I miss the Mermaid/Heathers days!
We get Winona Ryder’s and some other hottie’s cartoon gazongas. And a don't blink or you’ll miss it “cartoon sex scene" in fast motion no less.
The film did look good! Stylish angles, potent atmosphere and a clever use of fast motion. Needless to say that the roto scoping application to the images gave the whole an LSD like vibe that I grooved to.
Shit, I don’t even remember the soundtrack, was there a soundtrack? Beats me! Guess it didn’t make an impact either way.
The film was based on Philip K. Dick's own personal drug experiences and was dedicated to the people he lost or got ill due to drugs.
THE OFFICIAL SCANNER DARKLY SITE HERE