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HomeEntertaintmentWhat to Watch‘A Scanner Darkly’ | Decider

‘A Scanner Darkly’ | Decider

‘A Scanner Darkly’ | Decider

This month, the Criterion Channel is featuring a special collection called “Directed By Richard Linklater,” a group of 15 films helmed by the preeminent chronicler of the Gen X experience. At first glance, Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly (2006) would appear to be a bit of an outlier for the indie filmmaker, in that it’s based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, whose work has inspired big budget sci-fi classics like Blade Runner, Minority Report, and Total Recall. Once you watch it, though, you see where it fits in Linklater’s ouevre; it’s a very talky picture, it revolves around drug culture, and it contains some big ideas about identity and consciousness.

Darkly is a strong showcase for Robert Downey Jr., an immensely gifted actor who has spent the last 15 years getting unfathomably rich making Marvel movies but also one whose talents seem wasted in these paint-by-numbers kiddie movies. Like other Dick adaptations, it’s also very prescient about where society was headed; written in the late-’70s and filmed in the mid-Aughts, it’s hard not to see parallels between the Substance D epidemic in this story and the opioid crisis that the country is still currently in the grip of.

Photo: Everett Collection

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