A Scanner Darkly
"A Scanner Darkly" by Yojimbo
Richard Linklater gives Philip K. Dick's anti-drug fable the anime treatment in this tale of an undercover narc, whose identity is kept secret from everyone (including his colleagues) leading to his becoming the subject of his own investigation. Technically, the actors all fulfill their relative niches, from Keanu's self-analysing stoner to Harrelson's wacky attention seeking and the visuals are fine if a little unsophisticated by today's standards. For me though, it was only for the last half hour, when the story FINALLY kicked in that it really grabbed my attention. The first hour of the film is exactly like being in the company of genuine druggies ie listening to a load of self-absorbed pretentious and paranoid bullshit blanketed in a psychaledic haze; it's actually so accurate it's eerie. The problem is that K. Dick was writing an well observed and honest indictment of the seductiveness and destructiveness of drugs, the fact that the film ends with a list his friends who were destroyed by them underlines this. Therefore Linklater's use of self-consciously "cool" actors and the fashionable animated style is completely at odds with the message the story was trying to convey. As a whole it's a well executed film that unfortunately missed the point of it's source material.