A Scanner Darkly


The Internet Movie Database       Movie Reviews

An Orange County cop working on a drug bust, but things go wrong…

And that really is the plot, but there is so much more to it…for one thing, this movie is set in the future. The drug is a new one, that is addictive to everyone who takes it, not just those who are prone to addiction. The cop uses a suit on the job that blurs his looks and voice so that he can’t be recognized. And the ending…you’ll probably guess it…but it’s really good.

This is a dark and scary and often funny slice-of-life police and drug fable starring some really good people: Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr (who is STELLAR in this movie as the crazy conspiracy freak), Woody Harrelson, Rory Cochrane as the psychotic freaked out junkie…oh, and Keanu Reeves is also in it.

But that’s still not the amazing thing. Not only is this movie well written, with a good plot, interesting (if really awful) characters, humor and suspense…but it’s ANIMATED. And not just animated…it’s ROTOSCOPED. Which means that they shot the whole movie…and then animated over it. The human (and nonhuman) figures are excellently done…they do WATER. and a GLASS JAR. And TRAFFIC. And HAIR. All of which are difficult to animate convincingly…but this is amazing. And of course the disguise suit is just stunning, and wouldn’t be nearly as effective in live action with computer animation over just that one part.

This is a brilliant movie, go see it and enjoy it.

2012: My book and movie discussion group kicked off our monthly meetings with this; none of us liked the book, it was kind of wierd and boring and very hard to get through. But (even though those who didn’t finish the book were worried that the movie would be awful too) we all agreed that the movie is excellent. Downey and Harrelson breathe life into characters that are really hard to care about in the book. So don’t skip the movie even if you didn’t like the book.

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