Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 140 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on legendary science-fiction author Philip K. Dick’s own experiences, A Scanner Darkly tells the darkly comedic, caustic, but deeply tragic tale of drug use in the modern world. The film plays like a graphic novel come to life with live-action photography overlaid with an advanced animation process -- a method known as interpolated rotoscoping, first employed in writer/director Richard Linklater’s 2001 film "Waking Life" -- to create a haunting version of America, seven years from now. (Warner Independent Pictures) Expand
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Animation
  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 100 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    The most impressive thing about the film's technical wizardry is, finally, how unimpressive it is. One doesn't leave the movie with a mind blown by visual bedazzlement but with a soul shattered by the profound sense of tragedy Linklater and company so beautifully put across.
  2. The brilliance of A Scanner Darkly is how it suggests, without bombast or fanfare, the ways in which the real world has come to resemble the dark world of comic books.
  3. 80
    There's no other filmmaker, living or dead, who could produce a futuristic sci-fi nightmare, a hipster comedy, a haunting film noir and a cartoon, all in the same movie.
  4. 75
    Turns out to be more ordinary than the recipe might suggest. Oh, it's dense and funny and assured, but it's also chatty and listless in a fashion that constrains a narrative film, which, however reluctantly, it is.
  5. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Deeply intriguing but almost too-faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's nightmarish 1977 novel.
  6. Scanner is mostly all talk, and the talk is entertaining only when it's coming from Downey. The actor's long history of drug abuse taught him a thing or two about cooked behavior, and he gives some anxious run-on monologues that are very funny.
  7. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    Audiences will have to seek out their own peculiar diversions in order to last the whole course of this demi-dud.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 65
  2. Negative: 14 out of 65
  1. JavierR.
    Jul 22, 2006
    To start off, C.P.'s review of this movie may be the most arrogant and unbelievably disgusting reviews i have ever seen on this site. He dares to call the professional reviewers confused, and suggest that they misinterpreted it. With that aside, he is allowed his own opinion about the movie, although it is clear that he is one of few that hated it. It was an astonishingly true-life movie, showing us, through an unharmful apparatus such as a comic book, that the system is building off of itself and becoming all powerful. Truly remarkable filmaking and acting alike. Expand
  2. MannyC.
    Aug 17, 2006
    One of the best movies of 2006. Keanu Reeves best performance. A beautiful and haunting vision on the bleak future of America and how we are destined to lose the war on drugs. And Linklater isnt done yet, Fast Food Nation comes out in October. Expand
  3. smurfwalker
    Sep 16, 2006
    Awesome. Faithful to the book, this film is dark and paranoid. It is also very funny at times. Great acting and perfectly complimenting visual style... Check it out Expand
  4. JordanJ.
    Jul 25, 2006
    Being a PKD fan, I felt it was my duty to see this movie. I thought it was a great movie, though not as good as the book, I felt it stayed true to the book. The visuals are amazing. The rotoscoping gave it a very surreal feel. The most memorable part of this movie for me was Robert Downey Jr.'s perfect performance. My suggestion is read the book. You don't get half the depth in the movie that you do in the book. Expand
  5. DavidB.
    Aug 22, 2006
    Superb effects and acting, with a funny script, but lacks depth and pacing.
  6. Aug 28, 2014
    A strange, even weird movie. Half-way across it I started to wonder: "what's the plot? what's the idea?" By the time the movie ended, I was yet to find out.

    The film is entertaining, but confusing - mostly because there doesn't appear to be a strong plot in it. Things and people just pretty aimlessly move about, going on about things that don't really click together. Sure, there is a main thread they follow - paranoia, drug abuse - but it isn't plain or clear enough.

    Nice plot twist in the end that explains things a bit, but in my opinion it comes too late.
  7. PeterL.
    Jul 5, 2006
    i've never wanted a movie to END so soon as this bore.

See all 65 User Reviews


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    "The Adjustment Bureau," in theaters Friday, is just one of many movies based on stories by writer Philip K. Dick. We examine Hollywood's fascination with the sci-fi author, from "Blade Runner" to "Impostor."