A Scanner Darkly 2006

A Scanner Darkly

Critics Consensus

A faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, A Scanner Darkly takes the viewer on a visual and mind-blowing journey into the author's conception of a drug-addled and politically unstable world.

68%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 186

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 140,081

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Movie Info

In the near future, as America virtually loses the war on drugs, Robert Arctor, a narcotics cop in Orange County, Calif., becomes an addict when he goes under cover. He is wooing Donna, a dealer, to ferret out her supplier. At the same time, he receives orders to spy on his housemates, one of whom is suspected of being Donna's biggest customer.

Cast & Crew

Keanu Reeves
Fred, Bob
Voice
Woody Harrelson
Luckman
Voice
Winona Ryder
Donna
Voice
Rory Cochrane
Freck
Voice
Mitch Baker
Brown Bear Lodge Host
Voice
Jason Douglas
New Path Farm Manager
Voice
Heather Kafka
New Path Girl
Voice
Marco Perella
Donald
Voice
Mark Gill
Executive Producer
George Clooney
Executive Producer
Steven Soderbergh
Executive Producer
Shane F. Kelly
Cinematographer
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News & Interviews for A Scanner Darkly

Critic Reviews for A Scanner Darkly

All Critics (186) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (126) | Rotten (60)

  • The coolest thing about the movie version of A Scanner Darkly is how very literally it takes the scanner part of that title.

    October 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Bob Mondello

    NPR.org
    Top Critic
  • As A Scanner Darkly proves, Keanu is the Coolness -- passive blankness, leaden line delivery, and all. Let's hear it for the vague blur.

    September 23, 2006 | Full Review…

    Dana Stevens

    Slate
    Top Critic
  • It is not a great film, but an insidious one, the sort that gets under your skin. It leaves you scrabbling at aphids, hoping they really are in your imagination.

    August 19, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Wondrously attractive, all the more so for the avoidance (with one or two exceptions) of extrovert Waking Life-style set-pieces.

    August 17, 2006 | Full Review…

    Ben Walters

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It's never less than incredibly beautiful to watch.

    August 15, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Paul Arendt

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • Mr. Linklater emerges once again as the Austin auteur par excellence, even if A Scanner Darkly is set in a ratty precinct of Orange County.

    July 27, 2006 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Observer
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Scanner Darkly

  • Sep 27, 2015
    My rating for A Scanner Darkly is probably higher than most. I can easily see it being less for other viewers since the film does not really come together in many respects. It would have been greatly improved by a score to go with the animation. The sound itself is not particularly good (and yet that is one of the more important elements of an animated film). The overall feel to it is very 90s: amusing and silly, then serious. Reeves makes for a somewhat sympathetic main character, a confused and fatigued tragic hero. The main reason why I rate it up is because it is different, the story is oddly compelling, and I am a Robert Downey Jr. fan.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2015
    Très bizarre. Difficile a regarder par moment. Difficile à suivre aussi. Nouveau style que j'apprécie pas forcément.
    Marc-André B Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2015
    There's nothing quite like A Scanner Darkly. The effect of the Rotoscope helps add to the eery, whacked-out feeling this drug-centric mystery/drama already bears, and the performances manage to shine through it to present a weird, watch that is somehow still relatable.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 11, 2012
    Rotoscoping is not a technique I had come across before, or since, so I have nothing to compare it to when reviewing 'A Scanner Darkly'. What can be said for certain however is that the film is beyond anything else beautifully made, and whilst a few shaky performances let it down at times, the underlying message of the film is injected right into the viewer's skulls. Based on the book by Philip K. Dick, his most personal work, examining drug abuse and the way society treats drug addicts, 'A Scanner Darkly' tells the story of undercover cop Keanu Reeves, (hold on hasn't he done this before), as he infiltrates a 'substance D' group, a new drug everyone is addicted to. However as Reeves does so he himself becomes addicted to the drug and begins developing a split personality, forgetting who he really is. Linklater has always and will always remain an indie filmmaker, so its no surprise that 'A Scanner Darkly' did not deliver the goods at the box office, picking up little over five million pounds. But more people need to know about this film and dig it out at their local independent dvd shop, for it is the only place you'll find it, because it is deserving of a viewing for both its visual and storytelling capabilities. Whilst Keanu Reeves plays himself again, this time he does it quite well, whilst Robert Downey Junior and Woody Harrelson bring on the best performances to the piece. The story is difficult to follow, not of course helped by mind bending rotoscoping and confusing sci-fi items such as the suits the undercover police officers wear. However it is a terrific story, like all K. Dick material, which shocks you into considering the big questions in a dystopian yet highly relatable setting. The issues of powerful totalitarian states, drug abuse, drug treatment and general paranoia are examined, never in too much detail, but with the right balance of black humour and seriousness. Whilst I would perhaps like to see this story adapted in real life motion, the rotoscoping does more to add than take away from the material and viewing experience, creating an enjoyable film which hits higher than the average indie drama flick.
    Adam K Super Reviewer

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