A Scanner Darkly

Rated 3.0

An undercover drug agent (Keanu Reeves) is addicted to the drug he’s supposed to be monitoring, and his grip on reality has grown shaky—only to grow shakier when his superiors assign him to investigate himself as some kind of prime suspect. Writer-director Richard Linklater (adapting the 1977 novel by Philip K. Dick), applies the same pseudo-animation rotoscoping technique he used in 2001’s Waking Life, and it’s almost an inspired choice: The painted, slightly disorienting look is a good match for the sinister, seriocomic, drug-addled world of Dick’s book. The characters (under the paint are Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson and others) seem surrounded by the movie’s universe but not really part of it, and that detachment is the mainspring of both the characters and the movie itself.