Wasted Talent: A Scanner Darkly

scanner.jpgWasted talent

John Patterson
Friday July 14, 2006
The Guardian

If you’re making a serious movie about drugs, it doesn’t hurt to assemble a cast that knows whereof it collectively speaks. And for his adaptation of A Scanner Darkly, Philip K Dick’s unsettling 1977 masterpiece about drugs, fractured identity, paranoia and betrayal, Richard Linklater has found a quartet that runs the full gamut of the drug experience. You’ve got Keanu Reeves – who for all we know has never even smoked a single joint, but whose name is a byword for stoner inarticulacy – playing Dick’s addict- cum-narcotics-detective Bob Arctor. As Arctor’s dealer-addict paramour Donna, we have Winona Ryder, all grown up since her apparently pill-induced moment of shoplifting madness. Hemp activist Woody Harrelson plays one of Arctor’s drug-addled housemates, while the other is played by no less august an imbiber of chemicals and sacred roots than Robert Downey Jr, who has what one might call an embarrassment of riches in this field.