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By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:50 AM EDT
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Waking Life
Credit: Waking Life: Patrick Thornton
type
  • Movie
genre

Richard Linklater’s exhilarating animated reverie Waking Life is an amazing thing — a work of cinematic art in which form and structure pursues the logic-defying (parallel) subjects of dreaming and moviegoing.

This only sounds like a fancy leap for the Austin-based filmmaker who, a decade ago, gave us a bunch of modern-day goof-offs sleepwalking through life in ”Slacker.” In fact, there’s a logic to the sweet illogic of ”Waking Life.” Linklater’s ”Dazed and Confused” player Wiley Wiggins stars — but says little — as a young man who floats, as is only possible in dreamland, from conversation to conversation about the nature of consciousness. He’s in a car that’s also a boat. He’s listening in on the verbal free associations of academics and philosophers, raconteurs and visionaries. (Speed Levitch, the bus tour guide from ”The Cruise,” has his say; so do Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, echoing their all-night chat in Linklater’s ”Before Sunrise.”) Is our protagonist trapped in sleeping life? Or is this inner journey a representation of life at its most intensely conscious?

The gorgeous animation devised by Bob Sabiston and his artists is intrinsic to the film’s mysterious mutability: The team turned live-action footage into a pulsing ribbon of rainbow-colored computer-enhanced images. The result is a thrill, a trip to a fabulous new frontier. If you blink, you’ll miss something amazing — just like in waking life.

Waking Life

type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
  • R
runtime
  • 99 minutes
director
  • Richard Linklater

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