This movie is made in rotoscope-style, meaning it was shot with a camera and animated over the footage. In my opinion, this is part of what makes this film so very interesting. While watching it, you feel dreamy and hazy, which I am sure was the sole intention of this film's producers.
The soundtrack, beautifully composed and played by Glover Gill and Tasca Tango Orchestra, also provide a dream-like quality to the picture. The string orchestral pieces really dig into the soul - leaving the viewer yearning for lucid dream-filled hours of sleep.
Our protagonist remains nameless throughout the film. Even though he is our main subject and holds our torch through the exploration of human dreams, consciousness, and intellect, his name is useless to us. Throughout the movie, we come to realize that this young man is floating through a world where complex ideas are being thrown about between randomized citizens of earth. Some of these people's facial features are twisted about and hazy as we listen to them inject countless lines of information and opinion, exchanging words continuously. In fact, this movie is nearly entirely composed of dialogue. And as some people may find this boring, the individual who is even slightly intrigued with reality and its counterpart will find the conversation overwhelmingly enticing.
The conversation of the film stretches from lucid dreaming to reality to posthumanity to the meaning of life. Each blip of a certain someone's argument completely pulls you in. Personally, I felt as if my brain was being enlightened and twirled. Although sometimes lines of conversation will fall between the cracks of your head, existentialists will suck in the sometimes alarming ideas exchanged in this film and treasure them forever.
It takes the right kind of person, but that person will give this movie a 10/10.
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As he attempts to figure out what separates dreams from reality, the protagonist (Dazed and Confused's Wiley Wiggins) hears an earful from everyone he stumbles upon. Ramblings range from the scholarly (Linklater's former college professor Robert C. Solomon gives a monologue) to the banal (of which there are plenty). Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Steven Soderbergh, and Adam Goldberg all get animated cameos, basically playing themselves. The dream-centered dialogues eventually grow mind-numbing, but that's OK; the animation steals the show. Each frame of the movie, which was first shot with live actors, was painted over, and the process renders a distorted and trippy collage of sights and sounds. Linklater's film is ultimately quite poignant, but, as with any good journey, you'll need to sit through some fairly tedious moments before reaching the destination. --Jason Verlinde