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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Waking Life

Doug Orleans told me that the two characters from Before Sunset/Before Sunrise show up in "Waking Life", and I'd become a Richard Linklater fan from those two movies alone, that we had to see "Waking Life."

The animation in "Waking Life" was done by filming the movie as though it was a life-action film on digital video and then rotoscoped and recolored. The result is a mish-mash of art styles, where everything moves, buildings, streets, and the position of a person's features. This is not a movie to watch if Doom gave you motion-sickness.

As with the other Linklater movies that I reviewed, this movie is mostly talking heads in a dream-like sequence. Discussion after discussion follow, starting with a pretty decent exposition of existentialism as a philosophy and then transitioning to a lamenting of the limitation of words (a common theme amongst English professors everywhere, it seems), an explanation of how lucid dreaming works, along with some statements on the nature of human living. Linklater attempts to be deep, but seriously, trying to understand anything in depth in a 100 minute movie is a lost cause.

I don't consider the movie a waste of time, but Lisa was thoroughly lost in several sections of it, and keeping up with the dialogue and transitions (some of which don't make sense, just like a dream) was a chore in some cases. A cautious thumbs up from me, but watch "Before Sunset/Before Sunrise" first, and decide if you like Linklater's movies. If you're not already a fan of his work, this movie will leave you cold.


Doug Orleans said...

I thought you had seen Slacker before. Sorry, I should have warned you, you might want to watch that first. There are some characters from it who show up in Waking Life, and it's generally a similar mood (i.e. more formless than Before Sunset). And maybe watch Dazed and Confused beforehand too, I think there may have been a couple characters from that. Or maybe not.

md said...

I'm just browsing through your blog and came across this review. Now I've got my next few movie rentals picked out!

I enjoyed both Before Sunset and Before Sunrise a lot. I haven't seen anything else by Linklater, so I'll try Waking Life and Slacker.