A Scanner Darkly

Richard Linklater returns to the animated aesthetic of Waking Life for this adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian SF novel about slacker drug addicts and double agents in the Orange County of the future. Critic Gary Indiana has called Linklater the Dostoyevsky of movie dialogue, and certainly the compulsive jabber here can be as expressionist as the visuals. Compared to Waking Life, Bob Sabiston’s upgraded rotoscoping yields a steadier image and a more ambiguous blend of the drawn and the filmed, its uncertainty only complicated by the use of stars (Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder). The result is deliberately confusing but also mesmerizing and politically provocative. R, 100 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Esquire, Pipers Alley.

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