A Scanner Darkly: the director speaks


Richard Moore

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Linklater On A Scanner Darkly: "It's The World We're Living In"
Surveillance, war on drugs and terror themes parallel reality
Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | July 12 2006

Acclaimed director Richard Linklater, also currently turning heads for his 
comments on the Bush administration, joined GCN radio host Alex Jones for a 
discussion on the deeper aspects of the motivations behind A Scanner Darkly and 
the message it is intended to broadcast.

The film, starring Keanu Reeves, Robert Downy Jnr, Woody Harrelson and Winona 
Ryder, is enjoying rave reviews as it slowly rolls out across the country.

"On one level it can't really help be seen as a social critique - too much 
thought has gone into it for people not to see that whole side of it," said 

The movie emphasizes the effects of suffocating surveillance and how this 
interferes with the character's very notions of identity and reality.

"The things I get out of it I can only attribute to Philip K. Dick (on whose 
book the film is based) - deep metaphorical ideas - just the notion of identity 
and privacy - they're deep ideas that resonate," said Linklater (pictured 

"Even if they don't totally understand the movie they get the basic message 
about this future world - it's set seven years in the future - where people are 
under surveillance all the time, your calls are being tapped, all your actions 
are monitored."

Parallels to modern day developments have been noted in all the major reviews of
the film and it is usually the favorite topic of the media during Scanner press 

"Even though its technically a science fiction movie - we're living in science 
fiction right now," Linklater told Jones.

Linklater said he imagined Philip K. Dick laughing at him from beyond the grave 
when he received a mailed ticket a week later for going through a yellow light 
after being photographed by a number plate recognition camera and that this 
incident was one of the catalytic elements for some of the autonomous 
surveillance themes in the film.

"What's the next step - you cross the street at night and you get a ticket for 
jaywalking because biometrically it can read who you are?" said the director.

Linklater outlined how the surveillance themes are more of an overlay on the 
film rather than a focal point, because the story is set in a groove whereby 
society has become conditioned to accept that real privacy no longer exits.

"There's not a lot of resistance we see going on anywhere - people adapt pretty 
easily to this - it seems like a nightmarish scenario but it's presented in a 
pretty normal fashion - so that got people thinking 'oh gosh we're just sheep 
being led' - this conditioning works eventually."

The film is brought to life by the eerie musical score of Austin composer Graham
Reynolds - who also featured on Alex Jones' TerrorStorm documentary.

Linklater said that the original Philip K. Dick book and the movie are a tribute
in memoriam to friends that Dick had lost to drugs and this also resonated with 
the producers and cast.

"This is really about right now - it's easy to imagine a future where the 
endless unwinnable drug war would sort of meld in with the endless unwinnable 
war on terror - and how governments and corporations profiteer and the effects 
of that on the individual - the numbing effects," said Linklater.

"So it's this huge cautionary tale on a lot of levels."

Linklater also credited Alex Jones, who appears in a cameo role and also did 
consulting for the film, for providing material that the producers and cast used
to bounce off.

"I'd been giving out your videos to everybody - it informed everything we were 
doing so it was definitely the world we were living in," said the director of 
the upcoming Fast Food Nation.

Linklater said the film was his contribution to the wider underlying resistance 
that is building against the gradual erosion of freedom in western society.

"We definitely felt like we got away with something, just to be even able to put
this out there in the world felt like a triumph of some kind - within the movie 
itself there's this kind of very subtle resistance going on beneath the surface 
- in a way you feel that way yourself you're sort of commenting on the current 
climate and what's going on in the world in your own way you have to fight 
against it," said Linklater.

Linklater heralded Philip K. Dick as a visionary who was leaps and bounds ahead 
of his time.

"It's funny how Philip K. Dick could imagine some of this stuff thirty years ago
and he was a crackpot - he was a paranoid conspiracy person from the margins to 
be laughed at - that plus a generation equals reality."

"It's the world we're living in."

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