A Scanner Darkly

Theatrical Release: July 28, 2006
A Scanner Darkly


Set in a future world where America has lost the war on drugs, undercover cop Fred (Reeves) is one of many agents hooked on the popular drug Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities. Fred, for instance, is also Bob, a notorious drug dealer. Along with his superior officers, Fred sets up an elaborate scheme to catch Bob and tear down his operation. Based on the Philip K. Dick novel.

Dove Review

“A Scanner Darkly” is one of those movies where nothing is as it seems, and the viewer’s perception of what’s really happening changes several times throughout the film. This feeling is enhanced by the animation technique, in which the director filmed a regular live-action movie, and then drew over the top of it and animated the drawings. This results in the main characters, played by Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey, Jr. and Woody Harrelson, being completely recognizable in their animated forms, right down to their most subtle facial expressions. “A Scanner Darkly” examines the negative effects of drug abuse, by creating a futuristic world in which 20 percent of the population is addicted to a drug called Substance D. The movie depicts the lives of a small group of addicts, and contains a lot of drug use and references, and also some sexually explicit material. Ultimately, the film does a good job showing the catastrophic effects drugs have on the human mind and body; however, due to the explicit material and language, “A Scanner Darkly” cannot be approved by Dove.

Content Description

Faith: None
Violence: Man zapped with stun gun
Sex: Numerous sexual references; man and woman have intercourse (graphic); man and woman kiss.
Language: F-33; S-15; J-3; JC-2; H-5; OG/OMG-1; B-3; Slang for male genitalia-2.
Violence: Man zapped with stun gun
Drugs: Heavy drug use and drug references throughout film.
Nudity: Nude man and woman; topless woman shown twice.
Other: None


Company: Warner Independent Pictures
Producer: Tommy Pallotta
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 100 min.
Reviewer: Samantha Kubik