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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

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...

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.