Waking Life 2001

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(39) IMDb 7.8/10
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Writer-director Richard Linklater returns to the terrain of his debut feature, 'Slacker', with another series of loose meditations on various philosophical topics voiced by a disparate series of young Americans. Shot on digital video and then processed using a technique known as rotoscoping, which makes the 'live' images look like an animation, the film follows an unnamed character as he has a series of dreams within dreams and encounters a variety of different people discussing many different subjects. Includes appearances from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, the stars of Linklater's 'Before Sunrise'.

Starring:
Richard Linklater, Charles Gunning
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 36 minutes
Starring Richard Linklater, Charles Gunning, Steven Soderbergh, Caveh Zahedi, Wiley Wiggins, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg, Bill Wise, Timothy Speed Levitch, Glover Gill, Nicky Katt
Director Richard Linklater
Genres Drama
Studio 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 24 February 2003
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ms. E. G. Spaul on 30 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD
My favourite film of all time- exhiirating, challenging, powerful and extremely repeatable. The art is symbolic on its own, and the thickness of the philosphy is enough to bowl you over for many viewings.

Linklater draws on his influences (PK Dick, Lorca etc) and becomes himself an influence on the way you think after you've watched this. THe thing is, there is no plot- and there are no major character conflicts. It just makes you think about what our waking life is and whether we're dead or alive. It's simply superb. The soundtrack is unique too.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A. Whyte on 30 Jan. 2003
Format: DVD
Who says animation should just be for kids? Well, according to recent evidence, not many people actually do. There have been animated adult movies for a while (and I ain't talking Fritz The Cat), but none of them really made a huge impact. So when, exactly, did animation for adults and children take-off, big time?
Anime has been around for a while, but only really has a cult following. Arguably, it was with The Simpsons that animators realised that animation could be for adults and children too. Then came South Park and Beavis & Butthead, two teenage animated series that spun off decent movies. Disney incorporated more mature jokes into Aladdin and Toy Story, and Dreamworks did the same with Antz and Shrek.
And now comes an animated film mainly for adults; one that does not play for gags; and one that not only transcends the animated label, but transcends film itself.
Richard Linklater's Waking Life was first filmed, on a pretty tight budget, with regular digital cameras, and then injected with animation via computers before being transferred to film. This gives the animators the ability to add real movement and detail to the movie. I felt, in fact, that although this does not look realistic in the way that, say, Toy Story 2 looked realistic, it is probably the most REAL animated film I have ever seen. By making the film animated it gave it a unique feel and also gave the filmmakers the ability to play with special effects without spending millions (for instance the main character flying, which he does a few times).
The main character in question is played by Wiley Wiggins, whom you may recognise from Linklater's Dazed And Confused.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "david_jms" on 18 Nov. 2005
Format: DVD
This is a momentous film. If you are even remotely interested in philosophy, definitely view it; if not, do so anyway. Some might criticise Waking Life for a lack of plot or structure, but this would be missing the point. Director Richard Linklater here captures the distorted and disjointed nature of dreams in ways I never previously thought possible, at least not in any medium I have ever seen, heard, smelled, (other).

The movie follows the protagonist through a series of outlandish experiences and converstions which reflect upon the nature of reality and the human condition. If you're wondering what this means, again, watch it. The style is documentary-esque and you could easily forget that what you are watching is scripted dialogue: the acting is phenomenal. The film is overlayed with animation so that the fabric of reality can be toyed with, and this is the perfect medium for the subject matter.

Linklater is slicing straight to the main arteries of life. This is a film beyond most cinematographers' wildest dreams.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Priyan Meewella VINE VOICE on 24 Oct. 2003
Format: DVD
Less like watching a film, and more like eavesdropping on a selection of philosophical conversations, Waking Life is a mind-blowing piece of pop-art cartooning, both provocative and inspirational. In this groundbreaking film, Linklater plays with the notions of dreaming, conceptually and visually, in what becomes a form of lucid dream (where the dreamer knows they are dreaming and are thus able to control some aspects of the dream without waking from it). Using new animation styles to reflect this, he has crafted something unique in both content and style.
The central character is a teenage boy [Wiley Wiggins] who is never named. We see him meandering aimlessly through a dream he is unable to wake up from, meeting a series of characters who engage him in amateur philosophical discussion, or simply rant in frantic, and occassionally profound, monlogues. He is often very detatched from the proceedings, seeming as much an observer as the audience themselves.
While playing with deep concepts, the film itself remains vibrantly alive, partly through the bright animation palette, but also through its quirky characters. While they are of hugely varied ages, they all come across like students in their passionate attempts to vocalise their ideas, beliefs and viewpoints. Indeed, perhaps the aim of Waking Life, at least in part, is to stir up such passion in its viewers, since it seems to have left the modern world outside of universities. Rarely does a film seem so passionate about its own ideas.
The animation style may at first seem like a poor gimmick with a varied quality of appearance. However, the results match the Waking Life's core perfectly, lending fluidity and intensity as an extension of the film's own notions.
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