A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Written and Directed by: Richard Linklater, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Rory Cochrane, Woody Harrelson
I would first like to say that Keanu Reeves was unusually good in this movie. It seems an important note, and I thought that I should get it out early on.
He plays and undercover cop in the near future who gets addicted to Substance D and completely loses his shit over the course of the film so he's a sort of anonymous nobody by the end. Poor boy.
The film is kind of hard to write about, seeing as I don't really have a strong opinion about it either way. We'll say that I'm confused. It certainly left an impression on me... I suppose the only thing to do is to break it down and analyze it piece by piece...
I've already said what I feel about Keanu Reeves. He should just stick to science fiction movies, I mean, really. This was about his best performance since The Matrix, swear to God. Anyway, I loved the animation. It was actually quite unsettling, and complimented the hallucinogenic drugginess of the film. Everything looked like it was floating.
The rest of the cast was really great too. The last time I saw Winona Ryder I think was in Dracula (huh, Keanu and Winona... Jonathan and Mina... substance D... your friend... interesting). I've missed her.
Also, the whole thing was brimming with juicy sci-fi goodness. Like those helter skelter suits. I thought they were cool. Mind you, Mr. Dick's works have created the inspiration for some of the more interesting science fiction pictures, Blade Runner being the most important, but Total Recall and Minority Report are pretty damn good too (though I wouldn't put them in that order).
I thought it was pretty well written, and dammit, druggies are funny. Especially druggies covered in buggies. HA!!! It's kind of scary, too, in a weird way. Very paranoid. Everybody's watching everybody else. It had some really amusing lines in it (like "It starred Leonardo DiCaprio, before he went into his Elvis phase". I can imagine Leo having an Elvis phase in the near future.
I did think one or two of the scenes were a little... long, and one of the people I was watching it with was making bored noises all through the last half hour, which was a bit irritating. That isn't the movie's fault.
And what an ending. Jeez. It has all the makings of one of the great cult films of the '00s. It's just so... bizarre. I've spent a lot of time thinking about it over the last couple of days. It's hard to say that I liked it, what with the rather distressing subject matter, but it was certainly an awesome film. Nice and dark. It had the look of a video game somehow... I think there's a game that uses that crazy style of animation. Did I mention how cool that was? It was the greatest thing. So freaky. So beautiful.
I liked the bugs, too. Philip K. Dick obviously doesn't though. I've only actually read one of his stories (heh...) but that was about bugs. Bugs and bugs and bugs...