Friday, February 19, 2010

Waking Life (2001) Review

Waking Life (2001) Directed by Richard Linklater

Have you ever been at a party where everyone is stoned and you're the only sober one? That's what watching Waking Life is like. Unless you're fond of listening to quasi-philosophical yammering for an hour and a half, stay away.

That's not to say that it's entirely uninteresting. Lots of ideas about the nature of existence are thrown around in this movie, and some of them begin to show some promise, but before any one can be explored in any real depth, we're off to watch someone else ranting about something else. The ideas are about as deep as something you'd hear in a late-night college dormrooom bullshit session or by attending Philosophy 101 office hours. Take your pick. While the rotoscoped animation provides a little more visual stimulation than we would have had with a traditionally shot film, it doesn't add a whole lot other than being pretty.

Add to this the fact that most of the "conversations" are clearly scripted affairs wherein the characters name-drop philosophers, poets, and authors, and it grows tiresome. People just don't talk like this. Maybe I'm missing the point, but I'd rather get my philosophy from a book with a coherent point rather than in disjointed fragments from a series of animated talking heads. I expected to like this movie, but just found it lacking.

4 / 10

Pros: Kind of interesting at times. Nice animation.
Cons: No discernible point, at least that I could find.

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