The Movie Buff’s Modern Masterpieces: A Scanner Darkly

by: Alan Smithee

Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite writers. He has written many, many classics, such as Blade Runner, Minority Report, and my favorite, A Scanner Darkly. The book was written in 1977 and was inspired by his drug days in California and the effects they had on his life. So of course there had to be a movie of it!

Now, don’t take that as a bad thing, this movie is great. It’s before Robert Downey Jr.  did Iron Man, Before Woody Harrelson did Zombie Land and before Keanu Reeves’s career sucked! The film is directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) and the first thing that will stand out to you about this film is the style it is shot in. They took the actors, filmed the film, and after that animation was put over them. Does it work? Well, that is why I watched the film. Half the things the film does couldn’t have worked without it.

The film is about a cop who is undercover as a drug dealer. There is a new highly addictive drug called “Substance D” that 20% of the population is addicted to. He is tracking down the main suppliers of the drug and is staying at their main head quarters (their crappy little house). In the opening of the film, he is making a speech about “Substance D” and is wearing a morph suit. It’s a suit that flashes millions of different identities every second. If he is not wearing that, he could blow his cover.

I really enjoyed the suits, they wear them a lot throughout the movie. The whole “plot twist” you can really see coming after you get the hang of things, but it was fine. The film really gets you to think, as every little freaky thing that happens seems to have some sort of deep meaning.

I wouldn’t watch this with my parents. It’s more of a movie to watch with an older brother or cousin. It’s fun to watch with at least two friends (make sure they are somewhat mature). I tried to watch it by myself, and I kind of . . . fell asleep. It’s just mellow, and mellow isn’t fun to be alone with.

Well, that is all for this Modern Masterpiece, so, as A Scanner Darkly shows,  stay off the dope and do something healthy, like rent a movie!