Scanner Darkly, A

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane. Dark comedy/drama/sci-fi./action-adventure. Written & directed by Richard Linklater, taken from Philip K. Dicks graphic novel.

Set in the future, the story concerns an undercover cop who suffers from the effects of an in-demand drug known as Substance D. Little does he know that while he has hatched an elaborate plan to catch a notorious drug dealer, the split personality effect of the drug has made him the very outlaw hes trying to capture.

With an absorbing panel-by-panel pace, caustic, dark humor, and the use of live-action photography overlaid with an animation process a method known as interpolated rotoscoping the graphic novel turned poignant actioneer creates a frightening picture of Americas future, one devastated by narcotics.

Im not sure to whom the film is geared. It seems to be an anti-drug warning, its characters peopled by a cast who know first hand the destructiveness of drug use, yet its bizarre look and schizophrenic attitude seem more suitable to an ambivalent audience of stoned stoners. That said, I found it fascinating, hypnotic and ultimately anti-drug. It is depressing, however, as we see a paranoid lead character, really an antihero, progressively lose touch with reality. Also, beware the content as it is excessive.

Thus sayeth the Reviewer: I once heard that upon taking a certain drug, the user experiences a high unlike any other. From then on, the user searches vainly for that same euphoria. A person can get lost by taking such a journey even once. Whenever I speak to groups of teens, I point out that God will forgive you when you make a mistake. So, hopefully, will your loved ones. But life never forgives. You will pay for your miscalculations. Its impossible to avoid all faulty judgments, but you can step around those caused by drug use. Though it has become somewhat anemic, the old phrase Just say no still carries a passionate truth.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Independent Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: The opening begins with a drug addict hallucinates thousands of bugs crawling out of his hair and mouth. The film deals with a group of people so taken over by drug use, that nothing else matters; therefore, their lifestyle is filthy, their language crude and their morals missing.

Obscene Language: 20 s-words, 30 f-words, 2 b-word

Profanity: 6 profane uses of Christs name and one blasphemous term.

Violence: No there are no violent acts, the mind-altering effect is jarring, the self-destructiveness a form of violence to the soul.

Sex: An implied sex act.

Nudity: On two occasions, we see a woman topless.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: 2 sex discussions, one detailed.

Drugs: The characters are seen taking drugs on several occasions. But the film itself should be perceived as anti-drug.

Other: A cautionary tale.

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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