Through a Blog Darkly

Donna on DeathA few weeks ago, I think before seeing the inane Thank you for Smoking, I saw a preview for a film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly.  You would think that being such a huge Blade Runner fan as I am that I would have read all of Dick’s books.  Not so.  I collected a bunch of them when I was younger, but never could get into them.  I think my fourteen year old brain just couldn’t grasp the adult themes resonating in his work.  The same was true for A Scanner, Darkly.  I believe I started it ages ago and just never got into it.

So after watching the surreal preview I thought I should check out this novel.  I raced through the book trying to figure out how they were going to adapt the scenes to the screen.  Then I went back and re-watched the preview.  All I can say is – wow.  The casting for this film is superb.  Whatever you may say about Keanu Reeves, know that he is Robert Arctor.  Robert Downey Jr is the scheming Barris.  Woody Harrelson is Luckman.  And Winona Ryder is Donna.  It’s almost as if, thirty years ago, Dick wrote the book for these actors.  And the washed out, cartoonish coloring is not a gimmick.  The characters are drug addled, and the not-so-subtle reference to St. Paul in the title refers to our inability to see reality clearly – hence the brown coloring, i.e. darkly.

Based on the preview, I have incredibly high hopes for this film.  More to come soon…

2 Replies to “Through a Blog Darkly”

  1. “Thank You For Smoking” inane? I don’t think so! I found it a clever skewering of the culture of PR doubltalk.

    I’m also really looking forward to “A Scanner, Darkly.” It’s interesting how so *many* of Philip K. Dick’s stories have been adapted to the big screen: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report (all terrific movies in my estimation), Screamers, Imposter (which I’ve never seen) Paycheck (godawful). Why do you think this is the case?

  2. Philip K. Dick tended to explore the deeper meanings of the human psyche, especially those brought out by our emergence into a highly technological culture. Example:
    .) If robots are so close to human that we can’t tell them from us, what makes us human?

    .) In a society of total information awareness, who is watching whom? And does the whole notion of valuable information break down if everyone has access to it? (I.e. if ten people watch the same event you will have ten different explanations of it.)

    .) If you may commit a crime in the future, are you guily of it beforehand?

    These are things that our society has recently, or may bring to light soon. Dick was prescient in that regard. He was able to see the issues that would confront us in his near future and so they become timely and relevant today.

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