Dave's Rating:

4.0

… flatter and sadder [Waking Life].

Who's in It: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson

The Basics: Reeves is an undercover cop who's addicted to the drug he's supposed to be helping to stop the spread of — this fictional stuff called "Substance D." Personally I like to think the D stands for Dubya, since this movie is all about surveillance and bummer trips.

What's the Deal? Drugs make you paranoid, kids. Or maybe you should be paranoid anyway, because you're being watched by the government. But either way, they can see you doing drugs now, so you're kind of sunk. Maybe that's why the movie doesn't make a druggier use of its "rotoscoping" animation.

What's Rotoscoping? It's this process where you shoot live actors as though it's a regular movie, then you sort of digitally "paint" over them to make it look animated. Director Richard Linklater's Waking Life was done this way, too, but it was different; it was kind of the happy, loopy, good-high flipside to this one, with stoners making crazy-talk for two hours and stars shooting out of people's heads. Scanner feels and looks flatter and sadder.

Whip Out That Library Card: It's based on the novel by the very cool author Philip K. Dick. No, the book isn't animated. You have to do that in your mind while you read.

Great Moments in Casting: OK, first you have actual convicted criminal Winona Ryder in the cast, then either Bill or Ted (I can't remember which one Reeves was) and career rehabber Robert Downey Jr., and finally Woody Harrelson, who's got to be the happiest pothead (excuse me, "hemp activist") on Earth.

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