A Scanner Darkly Reviews

  • In A Scanner Darkly, we're watching other people freak out, but the film is maddening to sit through because their freak-outs never become ours.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • Identities shift and melt like shadows in Richard Linklater's animated adaptation of the 1977 novel by the science fiction visionary Philip K. Dick.

    Manohla Dargis — New York Times

  • Not a triumph, but a clever rendering of the subversive spirit of Philip K Dick.

    Peter Bradshaw — Guardian [UK]

  • A Scanner Darkly is a visually riveting mind-bender inspired by drug-induced experiences.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • The characters look as though they have been flattened inside a glass slide, a perfect visual reflection of their political and psychological binds.

    Desson Thomson — Washington Post

  • This is a movie about losing one's grip and like any addict's story, it's boring, ugly, sad, and terribly human. And surprisingly funny.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • This straightforward version of Dick's anguished vision of drug-addled addiction makes Naked Lunch seem positively romantic.

    J. Hoberman — Village Voice

  • Fans of the late sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick may rejoice at the news that Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly is the most faithful adaptation of one of his stories to reach the screen. Unfortunately, the story is one of Dick's least cinematic.

    Jack Mathews — New York Daily News

  • The first film to capture the author's transience and his art.

    Amy Biancolli — Houston Chronicle

  • Much like someone who doesn't realize how high he is, A Scanner Darkly talks too much and doesn't say enough.

    Chris Vognar — Dallas Morning News

  • The artiness gets in the way of thrilling plot twists; we're still trying to sort out images when we should be sorting out facts.

    Michael Booth — Denver Post

  • It's a pity it doesn't have more oomph, because the book is arguably Dick's masterpiece, and as brain-rattling today as when it came out in 1977.

    David Edelstein — New York Magazine

  • Watching A Scanner Darkly, we can feel [Philip K.] Dick's world close in on us. And we can be glad we're only visitors.

    Michael Wilmington — Chicago Tribune

  • An ambitious animated adaptation of one of the most personal novels by sci-fi visionary Philip K. Dick.

    Andrea Gronvall — Chicago Reader

  • A very talky and curiously uninvolving film.

    David Hiltbrand — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • One of the most disturbing antidrug public service announcements ever produced.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • Here's a guy willing to take risks, willing to tackle challenging material, willing to assume his audience has a brain. Unfortunately, his audience's collective brain is going to be hurting mightily for the first hour of this film.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • As Dick's vision matches up with our times, so does director Richard Linklater's animation technique match the story's material. A Scanner Darkly is a joyful wedding of medium and message.

    Bill Muller — Arizona Republic

  • Mr. Linklater emerges once again as the Austin auteur par excellence, even if A Scanner Darkly is set in a ratty precinct of Orange County.

    Andrew Sarris — New York Observer

  • Plot point by plot point, the film seems more concerned with achieving a lucid retelling of the novel's events, resulting in an almost disappointingly well-behaved sci-fi noir that's mildly provocative rather than visionary.

    Justin Chang — Variety

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