Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Scanner Darkly



I've read a lot of Philip K. Dick's novels and this is my favorite. Over the years I have been disappointed by the film adaptations of his novels. Bladerunner was a great movie but had nearly zero to do with the book. Total recall had Arnold. Minority Report sort of missed the point as did Paycheck.
Then came this one. I didn't like Waking Life so it made me worried when I found out who was making this film. As the months went by I watched the trailers. At first with dis-interest but one day I decided to look past the process and pay attention to the lines. I saw a glimmer of hope as dialogue from the book was being used. I went to see it and was blown away. Here was a film maker who truly understood this book. Here is a quick description of the book

The concept of mind-bending drugs and the importance of being human is essential to the core of Philip K. Dick's hugely influential science fiction stories. A Scanner Darkly is a novel that cuts closest to the bone, drawing on Dick's experience with hallucinogenics and on that of his friends, who died through their misuse. This is a black caricature, full of surreal and comic conversations between people whose heads have been screwed by sudden flights of jittery logic and bad trips.

It seems that the author is reliving his past and thereby setting a warning example. It is a book that explores the dual life that many drug users experience. The theme of disconnected hemispheres reinforces this, as does the idea that social schizophrenia originates in the mind. The conclusion provides an interesting view on the sources of abuse. I am sure that people who have been there will find the parallels between fiction and real life quite unnerving. This is a novel that makes you feel more and more paranoid with every page you turn. Dick├é’s ideas about what it feels like to have the cerebral hemispheres separated from each other is fascinating.

If you have ever used " mind altering substances" or know people who have see this movie. It is a sci fi but infused with a deep understanding of human fears and sadness.

3 comments:

ncross said...

The guy on the cover of the book looks like Werner Herzog (circa Fitzcarraldo era)

Michael Valiquette said...

I kinda thought it looked a little like the vareid styles of Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch.

Rob A. said...

Gee, I always saw him as Alex Trebek