I watched "A Scanner Darkly" yesterday at Covent Garden Odeon. I left the cinema wanting to see it again as soon as possible - there is just so much to think about and notice in the film. A really striking film - several things struck me in fact:
1) The incredible technique used to create the animated look. Every shot looks stunning. The shifting images and colours are used to build the atmosphere of paranoia and doubtful appearances. The close-ups of Arctor inside his scramble suit use a different technique - they seem to have been drawn, giving an extra intensity to his isolation inside his hidden identity.
2) For a Hollywood thriller, there is almost no violence - just an imagined incident and some horseplay in Arctor's house - except of course for the hidden act of gradual but extreme violence that is at the dark centre of the film.
3) Nevertheless the tension builds unbearably, and is not resolved at the end of the film. You leave the cinema with that tension still stuck in your gut. 24 hours later I'm still processing it.
4) It's a quiet film. Usually at the cinema the idiots next door munching bags of crisps get drowned out by the soundtrack. Not in this film - I heard every rustle and munch. What music there is, is all Radiohead. Very appropriate.
5) Biblical references - I counted four - are used to add resonances not of hope but of despair.