A Scanner Darkly

Out Now On-Demand

The great Richard Linklater uses the fandangled rotoscope animation technique that wowed people in his 'Waking Life'- where animation is 'layered' over live-action. Here he adapts Philip K. Dick's 1977 novel about over-bearing government surveillance, the war on drugs & dope-fuelled paranoia.

Set in the future, the film follows a group of drug addled, low-life friends in suburban California. "Reeves is the brooding special agent in a shape-shifter suit, assigned to spy on his own friends; Downey Jr is the sinister alpha male; Harrelson is the Lebowski-esque goofball. On one hand, it's a paranoid futuristic thriller, but on the other it's a portrait of life in deadbeat slackerdom." [Andrew O'Hehir].


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No matter how startling its visuals, A Scanner Darkly is inescapably a film about stoners lazing around and talking nonsense. Keanu is fine, in his usual bewildered way, but he has a hard time competing with Robert Downey Jr, on brilliant form as a paranoid motormouth loon. The film eventually makes a queasy kind of sense, but Linklater's predilection for long takes and improvisation can transform Keanu's nightmare into a bit of a trudge. Still, it's never less than incredibly beautiful to watch...

Empire Magazine


Its intelligence makes it near-essential viewing...

FilmThreat.com [USA]


Isn't as dark or sinister as its source material, but it comes closer than any other filmed attempts to this point. It may only be a decent movie, but it's a pretty fine PKD adaptation...

Hollywood Reporter


Audiences will have to seek out their own peculiar diversions in order to last the whole course of this demi-dud...

Los Angeles Times


The brilliance of A Scanner Darkly is how it suggests, without bombast or fanfare, the ways in which the real world has come to resemble the dark world of comic books...

Premiere Magazine [USA]


The most impressive thing about the film's technical wizardry is, finally, how unimpressive it is. One doesn't leave the movie with a mind blown by visual bedazzlement but with a soul shattered by the profound sense of tragedy Linklater and company so beautifully put across...

Rolling Stone [USA]


This gifted writer-director isn't out to dull the masses with cinematic opium. Embedded in the visionary headtrip of A Scanner Darkly is a hotly political call to arms...

Keanuu what were you thinking

A very strange and weird film turned it of after about 40 minutes just never understood it weird animation shot over the real characters