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Waking Life

A movie directed by Richard Linklater

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Truly a treat for the subconscious mind

  • Jul 23, 2010

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.

Truly a treat for the subconscious mind Truly a treat for the subconscious mind Truly a treat for the subconscious mind Truly a treat for the subconscious mind

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July 23, 2010
I'm that person!! 10 of 10. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie. It's funny. I saw Inception the other day and the first thing I thought to myself was, " I need to watch 'Waking Life' again. " I refer to it all the time. I keep this movie nearby at all times-you should, too. Enjoy: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7583894250854515095# Thanks for a great writeup, c0mf0rtable. Have a dream-filled weekend.
July 23, 2010
wow! This sounds awesome. Thank you for the write up!
July 23, 2010
LOL! I'm beginning to detect a theme here. Either you really like rotoscoped-animation or you're a big Richard Linklater fan. I still haven't seen this one, despite the fact that it's been on my list of films that I need to see. As someone fascinated by dream analysis and interpretation, psychology, and philosophy, I really need to make this one a priority. Again, a great review.
July 23, 2010
It's definitely both! You have really got to see this one, make it your next excursion. You'll get the chills.
More Waking Life reviews
review by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
  Waking Life is on the top of my “favorite movies of all time” list. When I make a new friend that I really respect, if they haven’t already seen this film, one of the first things I will do is invite them over to watch it. This movie has had such an influence on my life that it has even inspired me to major in Philosophy.    I will admit that this film is definitely not for everyone. For one thing, there is no real plot. Waking Life consists of a series of …
review by . June 06, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
I won't waste time critiquing parts of this movie. Suffice to say I loved the whole thing. I've never seen Rotoscoping done so well, it's a far cry from Ralph Bakshi's use of it. The lack of a plot did not bother me. The thrust of the movie is to live in the moment, totally experience it, so where it was going did not concern me. There actually was a plot, just a very straight forward one. I won't give it away though. The dialoug was wonderful--the insights into life, death and dreams very profound. …
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Megan Fortin ()
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Waking Life is a film that never settles down. Or maybe it never wakes up. Regardless, Richard Linklater's animated meditation seems to strike a perfect balance between the plotless meanderings of Slackerand the unquenchable knowledge-seeking of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. Any way you look at it, this is a weird, original movie.

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

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