Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Scanner Darkly (and a thought about scene structure)


Linklater's film has all the strengths and weaknesses of the book.

We didn't get totally inside Bob Arctor's headspace. Only occasionally did I feel what his personality breakdown (due to the drugs and having to surveil himself) must be like - and these peaks of paranoia and disorientation weren't frequent enough to satisfy me (because I pretty much feel they're the point of the story).

However, it has a scene about 20 minutes before the end which is simply incredibly - it totally justifies the use of the (seemingly gimmicky) scramble suits as Keanu's interview with his boss gradually becomes a experience of drawn-out and mounting horror. That was where the film peaked, and then introduced a plot point (that I think is new to Linklater's script) which I believe is a necessary step towards someone someday finally cracking how to tell a kick-arse version of this story.

The film's visually brilliant, and I cried at PKD's dedication to his friends, lost to drugs in the '70s. Go read Jenni's review for another POV.

A lot of the time, I was watching the film going "Where's the conflict in this scene?" And I realise that my recent experiences with Primetime Adventures have been subtly educating me in this screen-writing tool. Creating conflicts and having to decide which ones are meaningful up to 15 times a game is a really effective way of building up your chops.
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