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Animonday: A Scanner Darkly December 25, 2007

Posted by Ian W in : Film Reviews, Animation, Science Fiction , add a comment

I’ll keep this brief because it’s Christmas.

Philip K. Dick’s work is notoriously difficult to film, and while there have been some classic SF movies made from his stories (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report) none have really captured that essential Dickness.

Richard Linklater’s film puts an end to that. All the hallucinogenic paranoia of Dick’s book is translated to the screen, as are the weird and wonderful characters that people the Dickverse. The unique animation style, rotoscoping, adds to the surreal feel of the film. The scrambler suit’s that allow the undercover agents to keep their identity secret even from the people they work with are like nothing I’ve seen in an animated film before, or a live action one come to that.

Rather than distract from the actors performances the animation seems to enhance them. Keanu Reeves, as the undercover cop investigating himself, has never been better. Winona Ryder hasn’t been this good for a long time and Woody Harrelson adds a little humour as Reeves drug buddy. Best of all though is Robert Downey Jr. whose highly animated performance (pun intended) is a real treat.

A Scanner Darkly is a must see for Dick fans, particularly those disappointed with previous adaptations or for anyone who loves intelligent science fiction.

Next week: The last Animonday and my favourite animated film of all time.

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