Genre Guesstimation – A Scanner Darkly (2006)

The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s Genre was chosen by James of Back to the Viewer and he chose Dystopian Films as the Genre for April.  If you want to still submit a movie, the deadline is 25 April. Just send it to me at

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Dystopian movies…

scanner darkly“[voiceover] What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me? Into us? Clearly or darkly? I hope it sees clearly because I can’t any longer see into myself. I see only murk. I hope for everyone’s sake the scanners do better, because if the scanner sees only darkly the way I do, then I’m cursed and cursed again.” – Fred

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 Apr 2015)

Brief Synopsis – A deep undercover policeman starts to get addicted to the drug he is pretending to sell and starts to have very strange hallucinations that make him suspect that he is losing his mind.

My Take on it – I have recently been exposed to some of Richard Linklater’s work and I found the movies I saw to be very good.

When I heard that he made an animated dystopian movie, I knew that I had to give it a try.

Unfortunately, the movie didn’t work so well for me.

It was filmed as a live action movie and then completely converted to animation in order to give us a better feeling in some of the scenes.

I personally think that the entire movie could have been kept as a live action one because technology and special effects have advanced to the point where most (if not all) of the unique shots could have been done normally and still looked very good.  I think even the shots that are done to keep certain plot twists hidden could have been effectively done with special effects also.

Regardless, the idea to animate a love action film is a very cool one even if it makes the movie feel more surreal and distant (which is the main point).

Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson are all great here.

The message about going undercover and not knowing who you can trust or getting involved with drugs in that kind of situation carries a striong message about addiction and about following orders from someone you don’t know fully if they have your best interests in mind.

Bottom Line – Very cool idea that just didn’t work so well for me.  Lots of A-list actors couldn’t make this any better.  Very disturbing message about undercover work and the dangers of drugs all wrapped into one.  The animation is done extremely well but gives off too much of a surreal feeling (even if that’s the point).  I’d personally much rather have seen this live action.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to director Richard Linklater, filming was completed in 23 days; the animation process took 18 months. (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Very good idea, but it just didn’t work so well for me, so I’d have to say no…

Rating – BAFTA Worthy


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8 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – A Scanner Darkly (2006)

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