I've watched this movie once before and not knowing what the point of it was when I was a teen, with it's clinical terms and psychosis. Then I read the book years later and watched the movie again and it was like a calm river. It goes far as to how insanity covers us, and what it means to change into someone we're not. So, here's what I've learned.
The Darkness of insanity.
Bob Arctor is a man on the fringes of society. He decided that he has had enough of living an ordinary American life with his wife, his two daughters (little ones), and shut out everything and everyone and joins with a few dropout junkies for a pleasurable time. That, and being a drug enforcer, he is surrounded with murk. Under the influence of Substance D, Arctor wages war with what's real and what's not. The battle in which he faces are fears of his upbringing as an individual of society. The fragility of how we face our fears of being someone we are not, under lunacy, criminality, or addiction, is a blanket of obscurity. Even if we become first timers at something that is considered "a trip" or anything illegal with curiosity with no prior knowledge, can keep us from escaping our deep fears.
The idea of the world we live in that does not exist is ambiguous and polarizing. The number of conspiracies reach beyond the human subconscious is vast. And the way it changes people, whether they're mentally ill, on drugs, or both, shows how confusing it can be. Charles Freck, in the opening scene, sees and feels bugs all around him, and puts them in a jar. Later, the jar is empty and wonders if the bugs escaped or just his imagination toying with him. Later, we see Bob Arctor at the clinic with other patients as they discuss Concept Time and he realizes he's not just in one place, but two. The inevitable certainty of living in another world in which the characters think is anticipating, but not threatening. This idea is an example of how we truly "find ourselves" as we grow up; we figure out if we're sexually attracting to the same or opposite sex or not at all, can sing, dance, stay isolated, etc. We live through pain and madness, but it's a deep, meaningful way of saying that that's what we truly are.
Just one more hit.
The whole point of the film and the book is about how we want to have fun, but get punished too severely. Some who have been damaged a lot continue to play. It's how we wish to play, not by those who want us to play. America is the highest incarcerated nation per capita, and all of the crimes committed are drug related, and the way our law system handles the people involved in the crimes have gone to great lengths of making their lives worse than any other crime. It's not different, but fast. People can choose to stop playing, but it's the nemesis and war that keeps them amused or frightened and the sin would be the consequences that overcame their desire to be free from all the bullshit that kept the user down in life.
So, what did you think of A Scanner Darkly? What were some things you found interesting?