BSA306: A Scanner Darkly


Directed by Richard Linklater | Released 2006 | Rotoscope


A Scanner Darkly (2006) is based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel of the same name. The film tells the story of identity and deception in a near-future dystopia constantly under intrusive high-tech police surveillance in the midst of a drug addiction epidemic. The film was shot digitally and then animated using interpolated rotoscope, an animation technique in which animators trace over the original footage frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films, giving the finished result a distinctive animated look [1].

While I found the rotoscoping impressive, I found it quite distracting. For me, it took my attention away from a story that I might have otherwise been quite engaged with. However, I don’t particularly enjoy Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr. or Winona Ryder so I guess that put me off from the start.

I wanted to like this film, because of the trippy yet impressive rotoscoping, but the reality was that I just didn’t. Even though, as I have said, I don’t very much like the cast of the film, I don’t think this was the reason. It turns out that films about drugs aren’t really my thing. This being the focus of A Scanner Darkly, it didn’t draw me in. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean it isn’t a good film that deserves recognition for it’s unique approach and thought-provoking story.

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