Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Scanner Darkly



This had a lot of potential but what happened?

I first saw the trailer to this a few months back and was blown away by the visual comic book style it had. Video games had gone through a cell-shading phase so it was nice to see the movie industry give it a go. The animation is roto-scaped that is the film is still shot with live actors then they draw over the top with the cartoon images. The effects are so strong that you spend the first quarter of an hour getting used to the look and not taking any of the plot in, which if you know how complicated Phillip K. Dicks story can get, is a big mistake. Fortunately this film doesn't come across as being that bad.

This one tells the story of an undercover cop played by Keanu "Whoooa" Reeves, so undercover that even his workmates don't know his true identity. They all work in these magic suits that change your appearance every second (a nice effect though). In a strange twist Keanu is given an assignment to film a suspect drug dealer who is in fact himself after a friend (played by Bobby Downey Jr) grasses him up.

This story seems to play second fiddle to the effect of drugs on the main characters in the tale, and the rather abrupt ending cuts to some words from the author about those friends who have been victims of drug addictions.

The film ends up being a bit of a muddle because the plot flits between the two stories and doesn't really conclude either properly. Still it was nice to see Winona Ryder back on the big screen even if it was in a cartoon style.

Maybe I'm being too critical here but the most enjoyable bit of the movie experience was seeing the first trailer to "Hot Fuzz", the new film from the Shaun of the Dead crew. It was hilarious, and I didn't laugh anywhere near as hard when the proper movie started.
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