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  • A Scanner Darkly [Blu-ray] [2006] [US Import]
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A Scanner Darkly [Blu-ray] [2006] [US Import]

68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NOKJF4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,310 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bill on 4 May 2008
Format: DVD
All in all, this is one of the better film adaptations of Dick's work, although probably for aficionados only; the uninitiated would almost certainly be confused and exasperated.

It follows the novel closely, and the rotoscoping is effective and unsettling, especially when depicting Arctor's 'scramble suit'. But the animation is, oddly, let down by the acting; Rory Cochrane is over-the-top as Freck, and Barris, whilst suitably sinister, is often unintelligible thanks to Downey's rapid, mumbled delivery. Keanu Reeves puts in a solid, tortured performance, and we warm to Winona Ryder's Donna as the film progresses.

But somehow the film fails to successfully capture Arctor's growing paranoia and his tenuous hold on reality, or the hopelessness felt by all the characters as they wander, drug-addled, though a surreal Californian suburban landscape.

Dick has not been well served by Hollywood. Even Blade Runner only scratched the surface of the complex novel on which it was based, and others, like Total Recall or Paycheck, come nowhere close. Minority Report was surprisingly faithful to Dick's short story, although lost several brownie points for (a) starring Tom Cruise; and (b) a predictable dose of Spielberg sentimentality at the end.

One day, maybe, someone will make a film of a PKD novel which actually works, one which captures the freewheeling weirdness of his plots, without losing their humour and essential metaphysical content - Ubik, possibly, or even Palmer Eldritch. But I'm not holding my breath.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Bentley VINE VOICE on 12 May 2008
Format: DVD
I guess some people could come to this film thinking, Keanu Reeves + Science Fiction = Action picture. It's not. It's closer to an Indie sensibility, and probably one of the best things that has happened to Sci Fi cinema in a long time, because it actually does something intelligent.

Of course, the reason it is so intelligent is that it follows Philip K. Dick's novel of the same name (okay so that means Hollywood is now only 40 years behind literary sf) which is based on Dick's own experiences with counter culture and his time spent amongst drug addicts in suburban America. As such the whole thing is slightly trippy, hence the use of rotoscope to deliver the sense of unreality experienced by addicts, dealing with shifting reality and shell games (all is not as it seems) amongst normal blue collar stock. Reeves plays Bob Arctor, a narcotics officer whose true identity is hidden from everyone so that he can effectively infiltrate a ring of users that may lead him to a big dealer. Unfortunately, Arctor is an addict himself and his superiors (who don't know who he is) suspect him of being part of the problem. So begins the sense of paranoia.

Much of the film is spent detailing the interactions of the group of stoners, much of it self-destructive, and has some pretty funny but sad performances by Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder. And that sets the tone. The film is by turns funny and tragic, much like the source novel, with a big reveal at the end that is, in its way, slightly optimistic.

So it's not a classic, and if you're just wanting escapism this probably doesn't have enough explosions, but what it is is a damn fine film and good step forward. And it's probably the most loyal Philip K. Dick adaptation ever. (Let's face it, Blade Runner was not Do Androids Dream of Electric sheep, no matter how good it was.)
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By M. Somers on 3 Dec. 2006
Format: DVD
A Scanner Darkly was my first Phillip K. Dick novel, and was a surprisingly difficult read. Difficult not just to get a fix on his writing style but to get my head around what Dick was trying to say. In the end though, it was worth it, being one of those experiences where the moment the last page turns, the realisation comes of how profoundly brilliant and unexpected the entire thing has been.

The film strays very little from the book; in fact, `straying' is the wrong word, as Linklater has really gone all out to be faithful to the original story here, with an obvious and unflagging respect. In the name of continuity one can appreciate that some changes were necessary, for example, the complete omission of the character of Jerry Fabin, instead coalescing he and Charles Freck into the one body, but none that will permit anyone to moan. Most of the big scenes from the book are here, gloriously visual, and the ones that while missing, are not missed (for example, Arctor's visit to an abusive drug dealer's girl).

The film, while by no means short, does seem to be truncated in a way that hampers the progression of the story. Arctor's mental descent was a huge part of the novel, with many mind-boggling pages spent following the slow death of his brain cells and the gradual division of his brain from his mind and his mind from his ability to live. The film doesn't give a different version of events, but how quickly it all occurs gives a feeling of slight uneasiness and all seems just a little off-kilter. Perhaps this is a blessing after all, as Linklater could easily have decided to go down the time-ignorant route and spent a good fifteen minutes devoted to artistic shots and meaningless, predictable, endless prose as Arctor's world unravels.
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