A Scanner Darkly : 008

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A Scanner Darkly

What: Keanu Reeves deals with issues of identity and paranoia in this adaptation from the Philip K. Dick book.
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr.

Recommended and Related Media

A Scanner Darkly
The Philip K. Dick book on which the movie was based. Semi-autobiographical and probably the least sci-fi of Dick’s work.
Read it with your eyes iTunes | Amazon
Read it with your ears iTunes | Amazon

Incredible documentary about Edward Snowden and the government leaks he published through journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Get the thing iTunes | Amazon

Waking Life
Richard Linklater’s first try at feature-length rotoscoping takes on the meaning of life.
Get the thing iTunes | Amazon

Show Notes

The Novel

Philip K. Dick sort of wrote this about himself and his experiences with the Berkeley drug culture. “Everything in A Scanner Darkly I, actually saw.” This novel is probably the least scifi of Dick’s work.


Other famous examples of rotoscroping, but Linklater’s are the first to do it 100%. Interesting custom software with layering techniques. Perfect for this film with its less than firm grip on reality.

Drug Addiction

We are squares and we know roughly nothing about drugs. But it sure seems bad. Especially the drug in the movie: Substance D. LSD experiments like the following:

Here is the article about these experiments.

Big Brother/Corporate Conspiracy

Small conspiracies vs grand conspiracies. Big brother. Alex Jones and Linklater. Govt agencies compelling sharing by private firms. The social effects of being watched. The war on drugs.

Fractured Indentity

Scramble suits. How much can trust our own senses? Occam’s razor. Unwitting sacrifice.


Charles Freck wished he could take back the last half hour of his life.
Charles Freck thought, “At least I got a good podcast.”

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