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A weblog by Laura Moncur


A Scanner Darkly

Filed under: Movies,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This could be totally cool or totally lame. I’m hoping for totally cool, of course. According to Sci Fi Wire, Warner Brothers is working on making a movie adaptation of A Scanner Darkly by Phillip Dick. That is totally cool. They have cast Keanu Reeves as the cop and are also using Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson. Potential for cool. They are going to film the actors and then use the film for animation like they did in Waking Life. Potential for lame.

They’ve got great actors, why don’t they just film them? I promise, if Robert Downey Jr. falls off the wagon, it will only add to the realism of the movie. They don’t need to be animated. They’re cool enough in real life. Please don’t ruin this story for me.

I read this book a few years ago. A narcotics cop is on the tail of a drug dealer, but something goes terribly wrong while he’s deep undercover. Phillip Dick isn’t a really good writer, so you know right away what happened to this guy. When the surprise ending was revealed, I was thinking, “That’s it? I knew that at the beginning of the book.” If the movie is done right, however, it will be supremely cool.

This book was written in 1977, after the first War on Drugs, instigated by President Nixon, but well before Reagan’s “Just Say No” frenzy and the ensuing second War on Drugs. I’m always amazed at how well Phillip Dick was able to look into the future. I’m equally amazed at how simplistic his writing is and what intrigue and beauty can come of his work. Bladerunner, Minority Report, Paycheck, and Total Recall are all examples of Phillip Dick stories masterfully reproduced on the big screen. Let’s hope that A Scanner Darkly is just as good.


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