A caustic and tragic tale of drug use in a haunting version of future America where a new drug causes loss of identity. Live-action photography overlaid with rotoscoping is used to re-create sci-fi author Philip K. Dick’s own experiences.
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Nothing compared to the genius of PKD's book.
'What does a scanner see? he asked himself. I mean, really see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does a passive infrared scanner like they used to use or a cube-type holo-scanner like they use these days, the latest thing, see into me - into us - clearly or darkly? I hope it does, he thought, see clearly, because I can't any longer these days see into myself.'
Linklater went to great pains to make this as true to the original as I believe he could. While the book itself is even funnier, darker and more suspenseful, the movie manages to capture the hauntingly surreal feeling most of PKD's work elicit.
As a devoted Philip K. Dick fan, I am often horrified by the cinematic adaptations of his work (e.g. Total Recall). I had no doubts, however, when I first heard that Linklater was going to tackle this one. This is as faithful and loving an adaptation as I could have ever hoped for.
The rotoscoping looks great but I feel there's a wasted opportunity for a film that's primarily a drug trip. The scenes with Freck are great with the bugs and alien so why does the rest of the film feel flat. Speaking of which the leads are an example of a comedown, Ryder and Reeves are boring and Harrelson seems to have wandered into the wrong film. Downey puts in a decent performance to stop you nodding off.