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Scanner Darkly: More Dick Work

Due for wide release at the end of July (there are scattered screenings already), A Scanner Darkly is the adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel (yeah, now the post’s title makes sense, don’t it!) starring Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Rory Cochrane and Winona Ryder.

Born in 1928, Philip K.Dick was a science fiction novelist whose work has been the inspiration for many classic films. Traditionally his characters are dark and flawed, leading to the assertion from many that they are imbued with the traits of Dick’s own opium addiction. Dick, however suggested that stories of his drug use were greatly exaggerated. Whatever the inspiration he managed to write an extraordinary body of work, producing (and publishing) almost one hundred short stories and around two dozen novels during the fifties and sixties. Philip K. Dick led a turbulent life, he was married five times and believed at one point (in 1974) that he received a visitation from a ‘god like’ being. Sadly, in 1982 he died of a heart attack not long before the premiere of the film ‘Blade Runner’, which was based on his novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’.

Other Philip K. Dick works to have found their way to the cinema screen include Total Recall (based on the short story ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’), Screamers (based on the short story ‘Second Variety’), Impostor, Minority Report, Paycheck and Next (based on his short story ‘The Golden Man’) is due for release in 2007.

Written (Screenplay) and Directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Fast Food Nation), A Scannner Darkly uses a unique looking technique to give the film an animated appearance while it remains completely apparent that you are watching real, recognizable actors performing their parts. The film follows a character who is living dual identities: Bob Arctor and Agent Fred. Assigned as an undercover agent Arctor/Fred becomes absorbed by a drug known as Substance D which, after prolonged use, causes the two hemispheres of his brain to begin acting independently and eventually becomes incapable of distinguishing between his undercover identity and his real life.

A Scanner Darkly looks extremely interesting, initial review and comments from those who’ve seen it are quite promising. You can check out the trailer and some more guff about the film at the (flash heavy) official site.

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