Reviewed Apr 26, 2012
There is a dilema with my experience with this film: When I first watched it, I knew nothing about film. Now that I'm watching it again, I am writing a thesis about it (and other Linklater films) and know far to much about film. I am torn between my initial awe and enthousiasm for Waking Life, and the later unfortunate realisation that it is not his strongest film. There are the obvious flaws that are not really flaws: There is no clear story with a beginning, a middle and an end. No romance, weird humour, no real 'stars' (more famous actors don't get more screen time than other friends of the filmmaker). There is also the visiual style. With it's rotoscoping technique it is definitely original, and fitting for the narrative in theory, but all it really seems to do is induce a motion sickness. I can imagine that the first ten minutes of this film would be quite unpleasant on a big screen, when not a singe line seems to stay still for more than a second. The string of conversations and monologues is befitting for the average college student, particularly those studying philosophy. It's interesting but only on the surface and they never last for more than five minutes. It's "get set, ready, existentialism" and then on to the next character. All these factors combined make for a weird experiment that, even though I rationally shouldn't, I emotionally love.