Aroview: Richard Linklater’s latest ‘rotoscope’ animation adapts Philip K. Dick's sci-fi novel into a dystopian proxy for the near future, where undercover narcotics agents infiltrate traffickers and abusers through evasive surveillance technology in an unending war on drugs.
By turns hypnotic and humourous, Linklater nevertheless forgoes the freeform surrealism of WAKING LIFE for a distilled, technically accomplished rendering of his imaginary world, further defined by a narrative faithful to Dick’s paranoia that’s also alarmingly pertinent in its awareness of the here and now. Reeves, ironically, is particularly strong in cartoon form as another guinea pig of clandestine technology, but it’s Harrelson and Downey Jr. who are a perfect fit for the film’s lysergic animated ecstasy, here playing a couple of red-eyed stoners who wouldn’t look out of place in any number of slacker films.
4 stars (Very Good) One of my favourite Philip K. Dick stories, with sci-fi, drug addiction, conspiracy, big-brother and comedy elements, painstakingly hand-animated here for a unique and vibrant visual look. Add to that some great performances, this a must for sci-fi fans.~Tom H