Slipped into the summer movie season like acid in your happy meal, Richard Linklater's return to the surreally pulsing world of rotoscope animation is a prefab cult flick pitched to a drastically underserved group of filmgoers: stoners, depressives, bookworms, conspiracy theorists, and various other head-scratching freaks for whom the promise of Hollywood action sounds more like a threat. Darkly is the key word here. Superman's vulnerabilities have nothing on those of Bob Arctor, aka Agent Fred (digitally animated Keanu Reeves), an undercover narcotics officer with a secret past and an unshakable addiction to the brain-damaging Substance D. Assigned to spy and rat on his D-dropping friends, then on himself, he succumbs to his jones and eventually loses all but two brain cells, forgetting duty and identity alike. Squint long enough, and you'll see scrambled traces of every movie Linklater (Waking Life, Before Sunset) has ever done. Still, this is a drug movie above all -- and that movie ain't Dazed and Confused.
Richard LinklaterKeanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Rory Cochrane, Dameon Clarke, Marco Perella, Melody Chase, Eliza Stevens, Steven PrinceRichard LinklaterGeorge Clooney, Steven Soderbergh, Jonah Smith, Tommy Pallotta, Anne Walker-McBayWarner Independent Pictures