Collin beat me to the review, so I’ll simply say: if you’re a fan of weird fiction, Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly is worth your time. I saw it with my attorney as my final Massachusetts art-theater moviegoing experience, and it was very, very good. In fact, I’d say that the movie version pulled together the incoherencies of the original text in much the same way that Blade Runner extrapolated from and pulled together DADOES.
It’s a movie that knows all about drugs, and the tweaks and former tweaks who see it will well appreciate the ethos and deeply paranoid logic with which it constructs its paranoid anti-drug and anti-paranoia theme. I’ve heard some sci-fi fans complain that the movie fails in that it neglects to replicate the suffocating dread and paranoia of the book, but frankly, those fans are missing one of the movie’s big points, and one of PKD’s book’s big implicit points as well:
Drugs. Are. Fun. That’s why people do them.
Which, in and of itself, constitutes the lure of addiction, and its danger. The movie, in following the book’s indictment of the drug culture and its horrible casualties, would be deeply dishonest if it didn’t show why people do stuff like Substance D. (It also nicely encapsulates the reasons why “Just Say No” is an ineffective campaign to attempt to sell to teens: the logic of “Just Say No,” as the movie indicates, actually creates desire.) The comedic and comedic-paranoid moments in the movie, in the way they get you to laugh along and see (and even empathize with) the skewed logic of intoxication, humanize Arctor and his friends, and that’s what gives the movie’s final act its emotional punch.
Check it out.