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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 07/12/2006

Something 'Darkly' Different

By Jen Chaney

Right around mid-July, many of us start to develop summer movie fatigue. The sight of superheroes in tights causes headaches, excessive special effects induce nausea and even the thought of a pirate could send blockbuster-sufferers straight to the emergency room.

The only cure is to see a film that's out-of-the-ordinary. And that's where good ol' Richard Linklater comes in.

Ever the eclectic filmmaker -- who else could make something as esoteric as "Waking Life" and a crowd-pleasing comedy like "School of Rock"? -- the Texas native has struck an unconventional chord once again with "A Scanner Darkly," opening Friday in Washington.

Animated in the same painterly style used in "Waking Life," the movie, based on the Philip K. Dick novel, explores a future America dominated by drugs, paranoia and a government desperate to control a growing addiction to little red pills known as Substance D. Keanu Reeves is in it, doing his "Matrix"-style "What is reality?" thing, and Robert Downey Jr., at his manic best, is in it, too. But I was most happy to see Rory Cochrane -- that's Slater from "Dazed and Confused" to you -- and Winona Ryder back on screen again. Yes, despite her sticky fingers, I missed dear, sweet Winona.

Let me make one thing clear: "A Scanner Darkly" is not for everyone. If you can't stand movies where people talk a lot and you're not entirely sure what's going on 100 percent of the time, you may get frustrated pretty quickly. (Also, if you hate the cartoon characters in those Charles Schwab commercials, you definitely will want to skip it.) But if you appreciate challenging filmmaking, creative animation and pretty much anything Richard Linklater does -- that's me, raising my hand -- you won't want to miss it.

By Jen Chaney  | July 12, 2006; 11:43 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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Which theaters will it open in? Excited to see it. I love Richard Linklater's movies especially Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The majority of his movies tend to be on the chatty side anyways.

Posted by: Kat | July 13, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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