Waking Life
Pillow talk. Delpy and Hawke discuss the meaning of life...
dir-scr Richard Linklater
with Wiley Wiggins, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Richard Linklater, Adam Goldberg, Nicky Katt, Lorelei Linklater, Speed Levitch, Louis Mackey, Charles Gunning, Mona Lee, Steven Soderbergh
release US 19.Oct.01; UK 19.Apr.02
01/US 1h37

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
is it all just a dream This freeform narrative recalls Linklater's Slacker, but it's visually unlike anything you've seen. He shot the film on video then fed the final cut into a computer where it was painstakingly animated. The result is uncanny--both realistic and hallucinogenic at the same time! We follow the central character (Wiggins) through a series of dreamlike sequences in which he observes people talking--or talks to them himself--about the meaning of life, concepts of reality and, eventually, the whole notion of dreams ... and how he can get out of the one he seems to be trapped in.

The visuals are extraordinary, the kind of thing usually reserved for a 5-minute short. But we never get tired of watching it. If anything, it takes a while to stop looking at the images and pay attention to all the dialog. And there's a lot of it! Everyone goes on and on, philosophising about everything imaginable until we're numb from listening. If the images weren't so colourful and entrancing--and filled with terrific little touches--the film would be a huge bore, despite the profound ideas. The meandering "plot" never seems to get anywhere, just drifting from conversation to conversation. But the animation is truly original, both eerily detailed and ethereally floaty at the same time. Some of it is abstract, other bits are almost photorealistic, but it's all so gorgeous and provocative that we are completely taken in ... and taken along for a journey into our subconscious selves. Difficult and far too talky, but amazing nonetheless.
themes, language, violence cert 15 29.Oct.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall