A Scanner Darkly Blog Assignment


1. One of the major themes of A Scanner Darkly is the Orwellian idea of “Big Brother.”  In the film, we see how Keanu Reevess character is constantly being watched and is always under the surveillance of a camera.  He cannot do anything without being recorded or watched, to ensure he is fulfilling his duties as an undercover police officer.  Another theme is of identity, especially in the case of Robert Arctor/Officer Fred.  Throughout the entirety of the movie, Keanu Reeves goes back and forth, living and behaving as both characters.  He is constantly switching identities and by the end of the movie, he goes insane.


2. After reading the excerpts on blackboard, the obvious theme that jumps up at you is drugs.  The first chapter is primarily about Charles Freck frantically tracking down substance D.  His pursuit consumes him and he seemingly cannot get anything else done until he has secured a new stash of the drug. There was no noticeable problem with getting this theme into the film, seeing as it played an important part in the lives of the movie characters as well.


3. http://mysite.verizon.net/thomashuff1/rAScannerDarkly.html à Talks about how the film uses interpolated rotoscaping to bring the characters to life in the film.


http://scifiward.com/?p=95 àtalks about the some themes of the book, such as what makes us human, identity, and perception.




In my opinion, this source is helpful for understanding the film in a variety of ways.  The website is a book club’s monthly discussion board and they go back and forth on ideas they see in the novel, which is helpful because a lot of these themes are played out in the movie.  They talk about themes like splintered identity, paranoia, , fear of war, and madness that all appear in a lot of Philip Dick’s works, which is interesting to note because apparently Philip Dick was a drug addict who went through many of the same experiences that the characters in the movie did.


4. Is A Scanned Darkly an anti-drug parable, an anti-government parable, or both? What is the relationship between drug use and politics in the film?


A Scanner Darkly is both an anti-government parable and also an anti-drug parable that shows the negative consequences when the 2 become intertwined.  As we see in the movie, substance D eventually ruins the lives of everyone who takes the drug. No one can resist its power, and it ruins the addict’s lives.  However, at the end of the movie when we learn that New Path, which in the beginning of the film was being heralded, was behind the whole substance D movement this seems to make the government the enemy.  The way they manipulate the masses and create this vicious cycle of addiction and rehabilitation paints a negative picture of the government.