Waking Life

"Essential"

Waking Life Review


Today, most films are bloated, uninteresting, narrative-driven drivel, filled with beautiful people, a hit soundtrack, and closely following the storyline of some bestseller close enough so that it doesn't offend a legion of Oprah's Book Club readers. Waking Life is something altogether different, a work of abstract art that recalls Buñuel, Lynch, and Cocteau.

Most people will not understand Waking Life. Some will find it to be one of the most brilliant pieces of film ever produced. I found it to be beyond words; a combination of film, groundbreaking computer animation, and a difficult and profane script that produces a sublime interpretation of existence.

The film loosely follows the exploits of a young man (Wiley Wiggins) who is faced with the realization that the life that he living is only but a dream, or a series of dreams states with an unknown purpose. The film follows Wiley as he controls an omnipotent perspective into complex personal diatribes, candid conversations between lovers and friends, and one-on-one discussions with over 60 colorful characters, Slacker-style, crisscrossing and intersecting through his dream states.

In these dream states, Wiley covers complex issues which range from the purpose of collective memories; the integration of man and machine into one equal being; the purpose of God and death in the human psyche; the joys of living in this imperfect world; the notions of memory control based upon evolution; and free will in relation to theological and physical limitations. During these interactions, Wiley slowly discovers his own destiny within these dream states and of the consequences one must face with that knowledge. All of these soapbox speeches sometimes lead to the profane, illogical, and rambling notions of a crazy person. The impact, though, is phenomenal.

The writer and director of the film Richard Linklater, best known for Slacker and Dazed and Confused, tackles heavy subject matter and succeeds admirably. Linklater's attempts in answering some of life's most complex issues are achieved superbly; his conversation pieces even manage to reach plausible conclusions in a short amount of time.

The metaphysical expressionism of the film is made even more powerful by the awe-inspiring animation work of Bob Sabiston, who created unique "interpolated rotoscoping" software to give Wiley's dream world a surreal and Dali-esque movement and feeling. In every scene of the movie, all stationary items such as tables and chairs seem to float, refusing the laws of gravity. Characters are either given great detail or are reduced to resemble child-like drawings that would hang on the family refrigerator. The film feels like you're watching a combination of the works of Basquiat, Picasso, and Warhol brought to life.

Beneath the drawings, the film is shot in real life using real actors, including Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Adam Goldberg. Over 30 artists were then brought in to paint over individual characters of the film using Sabiston's animation software. The result is proof that both the painter's brush and the filmmaker's eye can combine to achieve visions of wonder and profoundness.

Bedbuds.



Waking Life

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 7th March 2002

Box Office USA: $2.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $3.2M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight

Production compaines: Line Research, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Independent Film Channel (IFC), Thousand Words, Flat Black Films, Detour Filmproduction

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 113 Rotten: 28

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Main Character, as Jesse, as Celine, as Bartender, as One of Four Men, as Interviewed on television, as Boat Car Guy, as Angry Man in Jail, as Caveh Zahedi

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.