Here's some good news: Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly cracked the box office top ten this week, coming in at #10, while playing only on 216 screens. Our number one movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, is playing on 4133. For the math geeks out there, that's nearly 20 times as many screens. The difference between the two movies is that Pirates needs to saturate the market as quickly as possible before moviegoers discover how truly mediocre it is, while A Scanner Darkly is the kind of movie you want to ponder, then go back and see again.
I have still only seen the film once, but I continue to roll it around in my brain. It's a bit of a downer, focusing mostly on drug addiction and very little of the cool gadgetry that make other Philip K. Dick movies so cult-worthy; the best trick is the identity-mixing suit that the hero (played by Keanu Reeves) has to wear in his capacity as a drug cop. Yet A Scanner Darkly has quite a bit to say about drugs, especially the business of drugs and the emotional side of drugs. Plus, the kooky, cartoony performances by Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr. go a long way in lightening the movie's load.