Monday, August 14, 2006

A review, lightly.

My wife and I went and saw A Scanner Darkly over the weekend, and while I enjoyed it overall, I think I was hoping to like it more. I've recently finished reading the Phillip K. Dick book on which its based, so I'd been eager to see how it translated to the film.

And, to tell the truth, it was fairly well adapted. It's always interesting to see how the visuals of a movie match or conflict with those in my head while I read the book. And, I thought that this was one of the rare cases where things matched up pretty close. So, I'd didn't have too many complaints there.

In addition, I thought the animation was well suited to the subject matter; and the actors all put in strong performances. Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson were both inspired choices since the characters in the film live in a chemical world not too distant from where the Hollywood gossip place the actors themselves. And even Keanu, who's character spends a good amount of time staggering around in a confused, drug-induced daze, manages to seem decently fit for the roll.

So, what was my problem with the film? Good question. I think that a lot of it has to do with focus. And, this is a problem I had with the book too. It's hard to get into details here, without spoiling the plot, but -in short- the last 10 minutes of the movie should have been the last 30 minutes, and roughly 30 minutes could have been trimmed from the middle. It's stalls out in the middle, only to feel rushed at the end.

Or, as my wife more succinctly put it: "The idea was interesting. But, it just wore me out watching so many scenes of people on drugs." (I'm probably completely misremembering what she said, but hey, it sounds right to me.)

Still, those complaints aside, I personally am glad I saw it. It held my interest on several levels. and was a lot more intelligent and talky than your average Sci-Fi flick.

A Scanner Darkly (both book and movie)

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