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Stars: Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane

Director: Richard Linklater

'I'm seeing some crazy shit tonight,' gasps Keanu Reeves as an undercover agent under the influence of 'Substance D', in this futuristic fantasy from the fertile pen of Philip K Dick, on whose work Blade Runner was based.

And you might well agree. For the whole thing is 'rotoscoped'. Which means that Reeves, Downey, Ryder and Co appear in cartoon form. It's live-action converted into animated images, perhaps to give the impression of a graphic novel.

At any rate, it hardly improves the garbled nature of the story, which is almost as hallucinatory as the nation-embracing drug the authorities are battling to stamp out.

Its most effective scene is perhaps the ending while, of the actors, Reeves's natural morosity is well-suited to his part. But it's Downey and ex CSI Miami alumnus Cochrane, both twitching like mad, who seem most in tune with the material.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
100 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 15 Aug 2006