A Scanner Darkly

A film I've been meaning to see in a long while as I was intrigued by the animation style.

The above trailer looks awesome yes? The same can't be said for the film itself.

As a film, the plot is very thin that never really goes anywhere. A drug known as Substance D in highly addictive leading to the downfall of society and a big brother state, ultimately drawing to the conclusion that drugs are nasty stuff - not that we didn't know that already.

Heavy dialogue will definitely test your patience with weak characters that you couldn't care less about as they are never developed or fleshed out. You will constantly find yourself trying to figure things out that are never later explained leading to a hollow and fruitless conclusion.

Its a shame really as there are some great concepts laid out, but these are never developed or even explored to their potential. Wearing scramble suits that constantly shift between random identities is an intriguing concept that could lead to some great ideas and scenarios, but this never occurs only becoming a piece of clothing that is amiss in the film as a whole.

The sole highlight is the art style and animation alone which is quite wonderful, which only leads to a greater sense of disappointment with a lacking story and plot.

If anything, the scramble suits sparked the intriguing idea of one's identity. Being constantly shifting as the mask that we wear, how can one truly know oneself? Let alone capture this in a self-portrait. Perhaps something I can look into further.

Overall, a disappointing watch that is hard to recommend by the art style alone.


Jordan Buckner said...

Have you seen Waking Life yet, the animation is 10 times better and it a film that has a very interesting theme. I can't say I hated A Scanner Darkly as much as you did but I definitely see your point.


tutorphil said...

I haven't seen this - but I'm loving the critique, Leo; sharpen your analytical skills on anything and everything that comes your way - which will be The Elephant Man on monday at 11 in lecture theatre 2!

anewman said...

It has a more deeper meaning to it than from the first sight. In the begging it caused rejection. However, the more you watch it the more you understand it. It is like a book, which has an annoying description in the beggining. But in truth it is interesting and philosophical.

The whole idea was to make an animation film about drug addicts - wonderful. Rythm of the plot, dialogues, scenes - it all reflect addicts environment. You won't find a clear, understandable plot in this film. It's complex, incomprehensible like the minds of addicts. It is not a fairytale. And definitely this film is not for everyone.

The rotoscoping animation - that's the goods! Runs through the film with a psychedelic atmosphere.

It's a deep film which suggests an idea that there are many drug addicts, killers etc. among us and you can not define them and surely don't know what is happening in their minds. As was said "this film not for everyone".

Leo Tsang said...

Thanks Phil, will do, I look forward to seeing Elephant Man.

I haven't seen Waking Life yet, will do sometime soon. I didn't hate the film, I just found myself disappointed with the vast potential it had and could of achieved.

To a degree, I understand the films attempt to delve into deeper realms of drug addicts on a philosophical level. The prime example being Rory Cochrane. I just felt they could have done more to make the story much more engaging.

anewman said...

Definately, it is hard to watch this film. Besides it was made in its own genre. There is no need to make it more engaging, because this way it would turn into a pop thing. Try to imagine a real life of an addict - how engaging is that?

Leo Tsang said...

I wouldn't imagine very much so. But in the context of a film, I just feel it did not deliver on a narrative or philosophical level that satisfy any of these concepts. I would have liked to love the film, but with its vast potential of cast, themes and animation style, I thought it could have been so much more.

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