Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

A Scanner Darkly 2006

Directed by Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s much anticipated adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s nightmarish 1977 novel has an all-star rotoscoped cast: Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder. Direct from Cannes.

USA In English
100 minutes 35mm


Richard Linklater. Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick


Shane F. Kelly


Sandra Adair


Graham Reynolds


Keanu Reeves
Robert Downey Jr
Woody Harrelson
Winona Ryder
Rory Cochrane


Cannes (Un Certain Regard) 2006


Richard Linklater says plenty about now in his long awaited adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1977 novel about government surveillance, fractured identity and dope-fuelled paranoia. Direct from Cannes. 

“A rotoscope animation in the mode of Linklater’s culty Waking Life – that is, a perversely hypnotic blend of cartoon and live action – this is adapted from Philip K. Dick’s novel and features a delightful cast as a household of drug-addled Southern California lowlifes. Keanu Reeves is the brooding special agent in a shape-shifter suit, assigned to spy on his own friends; Robert Downey Jr is the more-than-slightly-sinister (and hilarious) alpha male know-it-all; Woody Harrelson is the Lebowski-esque goofball; and Winona Ryder is the cute chick with a secret (or several, as things turn out). On one hand, Scanner Darkly is a paranoid futuristic thriller, but on the other it’s a pitch-perfect portrait of life in deadbeat slackerdom and Linklater’s funniest, loosest movie in years.” — Andrew O’Hehir, 

“This is going to sound like an American cliché, but despite everything that’s fucked-up about the US, I feel kind of optimistic in some abstract-ass way. At some point in the future, hopefully, we’ll look back and not be able to believe what a rough time it was. That’s actually what Dick was saying in the 70s, but it resonates today. The characters of A Scanner Darkly are fighting their own war against this big, oppressive, quasi-governmental corporation. There are no bad guys in [the] movie – it’s just the world we’re living in.” — Richard Linklater, Village Voice 

“Not just the best Philip K. Dick adaptation since Total Recall, but an adaptation that brings quite a lot to the original.” — J. Hoberman, Village Voice