May 29, 2007

[Movies] A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner DarklyWaking Life was such a visual masterpiece when it came out. While the story was pretty heavy and not everyone really jumped right on-board with the plot, it certainly caught everyone's attention with its unique animation style. Writer / Director Richard Linklater has decided to revisit this particular treatment in the movie adaptation of the science fiction novel, A Scanner Darkly.

The movie is highly dynamic and employs the same Rotoscoping style with such skill and art that the manner of animation in itself helps tell the story.

A Scanner Darkly is a science fiction story at its core, set in a somewhat dark future where an illegal drug called Substance D has spread like wildfire across the country and in order to combat the drug trade, many civil liberties have been given up. The largest part of the anti-narcotics efforts lies in a massive monitoring system wired into all public places where operators can routinely monitor conversations, phone calls and movements using advance voice and facial recognition software. Despite this, Substance D continues to thrive.

Enter Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves), an undercover cop trying to smoke out the upper members of the Substance D network by posing as an addict himself. The story follows his double life as both policeman and addict and soon we see the two worlds begin to collapse on themselves.

The story is rather complicated and the characters tend to lean towards the highly intellectual side, randomly getting into heavily technical or philosophical debates at seemingly random times. As we have come to know one way or another, such increased talkativeness is often associated with substance abuse.

The story wasn't boring in the least with the dynamic animation style constantly bombarding you image after image after image until your eyes are so full on stimulation that you find yourself questioning whether you too are high. Think classic Æon Flux meets Waking Life in terms of animation and you'll know what I mean.

Pay close attention to everything that goes in - there are wheels within wheels in this story and you'll be surprised at some of the twists taken as the movie moves along. By the end, you'll be surprised and curious as to how you arrived at that final shot. A smart and entertaining movie for everyone to see.

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