Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waking Life (2001)

A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.

Written & Directed by:  Richard Linklater (Before Midnight, Slacker)
Music by: Glover Gill
Cinematography:  Richard Linklater, Tommy Pallotta
Running Time:  101 mins
Watch Waking Life HERE

"They say that dreams are only real as long as they last. Couldn't you say the same thing about life?"

This is a film for the dreamers, the thinkers, the lovers of life, the confused, the those who seem to sleepwalk through the hazy fog of everyday living.  It's for the people who like to smell the flowers as they walk, thinking about the concept of life, our existence, reality, even death. 

The first scene caught me off-guard, feeling and sensing the real people behind the hypnotic yet grotesque rotoscope animation. At first it might distract or feel weird seeing shakiness all over and big eyes seemingly pulsating in and outside the lines of their faces, but after the initial unsettling  cartoonish vibe, everything just becomes more surreal. It's art, and it's beautiful. 

Waking Life is a philosophical buffet for those whose minds are hungry. This movie connected to me in a deeper, more personal way than any other films probably because it spoke of ideas or philosophies that I couldn't put into words. I think about it, I believe it, I dream of those ideas, but I couldn't express it myself. This film did that for me. It's rare to find someone to talk to on a philosophical level, and Linklater managed to make another movie which made me feel like I was part of the conversation. I spent most parts of the movie smiling, just trying to absorb all the "conversations", and feeling attached to this film more & more. 

Richard Linklater's attention to details with his cameraworks and cinematography gives you a unique experience, but what makes his movies stand the test of time is his script. As taut as a newly-adjusted guitar string, his dialogues/script reverberates from your ear into your mind & into your soul, and it will be hard to shake it out of your system . It's as real as life, as tight as Superman's spandex.
It's a fantastical feeling. At some point while watching I ask myself, if this is done without the animation, would it be the same movie? No. What makes Waking Life as surreal & beautiful as a famous work of art is the fusion of its unique animation, script, & the music. The fast-talking, quick-paced documentary vibe, the use of musical instruments that stirs at your soul, the fascinating animation, and the thought-provoking dialogues worked perfectly for me. As one character has said, "Don't ever be bored!" And I wasn't.

And could I resist mentioning the wonderful "guest appearance" of Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy having their usual conversation, Before Sunrise-style? 

Watching Waking Life is like being in a romantic dinner date. The story is the main course, which I would love to savor every bite. The bizarre, yet beautiful animation is the soothing ambience which makes the movie more special & worth remembering. Accompanied by background music that exhilirates me. Then we have the colorful characters as our date. Sparks fly as the connection is almost tangible, conversations inexhaustible, fascination apparent in my face listening to my date talk about things that questions the nature of reality & defies any pre-conceived notions regarding such topics. As the writer character in the movie said, the greatest story ever told is “people, gestures, moments, bits of rapture, fleeting emotions." You don't need a coherent plot or a named protagonist for this kind of movie, all you need is to clear your mind and enjoy this wonderful, cerebral dream-like experience. And before you drift off, DON'T FORGET, which is to say, REMEMBER, because remembering is so much more a psychotic activity than forgetting, the iguana will bite those who do not dream.

My Rating: 5/5 - a movie that can be interpreted differently with each re-watch. 

I don't wanna be an ant, you know?

Who's your favorite character in the film?

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  1. I'm glad to see that comments are available.... The blog was not working properly for a few days.....I wanted so much to compliment you on this review... It was more than well done. Your description was accurate in revealing the many facets of this film and what it was saying to the audience... One of the best films I have seen..Your reviews are dead-on accurate with a twist of your own style making them very enjoyable to your readers..Thanks for sharing... Sincerely, Tippi :) Keep up the good work!

    1. yeah it's annoying, the blog not working properly... makes me kinda regret of using blogger instead of wordpress.. anyway, thank you, it's not really an in-depth review, most of the time i get lazy so i just type as quickly as i can... thanks for reading and commenting :) someone recommended another linklater film called A Scanner Darkly, and i plan to watch it soon.. maybe u can watch it too if u havent yet, and wait for my review lol

  2. Great review. I love this movie, and all the conversations in it. The 'I don't want be an Ant' sequence was among one of my favorite as is this line which was said by a much older man. Im paraphrasing. "What is the most universal emotional trait, Fear or Lazyness". I agree you can have a different experience each time you watch it, and that it would not work without the animation. If you liked this I do recommend "Slacker" if you have not seen that one yet.

  3. "What is the most universal emotional trait, Fear or Lazyness". - speaking for myself, I would have to say FEAR. Out of fear you also become lazy.

    Anyway, thank you for the compliment! It's one of my to-watch films (Slacker) but arrrghh with the limited time I have for watching, it's hard to watch everything in one or two days. O_O



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