Emil Woerner’s review published on Letterboxd:
Man, what a weird movie. That’s an understatement. What a very very strange film. This movie felt less like a mastery of animation, in fact, the animation may be the least impressive classical part of this film - this movie was truly a mastery of writing. This script feels incoherent. Like nothing anyone says makes any sense, because this movie is a string of thoughts, and nothing more, and in essence that captures the nature of dreams pretty well. It’s got competition to be the weirdest script with Synecdoche, New York, Inland Empire, Paprika, and House and none of these really hold a torch when I compare them. This movie just bounces from subject and place to the next so seamlessly, and I think this is the movie that solidifies Linklater’s genius. I mean, look at his allusions, just dumping his knowledge onto all of us. He references Sarte, Picasso, Monet, Dostoyevsky, Louis Malle, Billy Wilder, and André Bazin to name a handful, and I think he combines everything he knows into a last ditch effort to show consciousness. I wonder if the movie is even about dreams, it might just be about a stream of thoughts a person has. It actually works better that way for me. This script is not immune to self reference, real location, real people, false reality, distortion, or anything else, it just is what it is. And the fact that Linklater made this movie on no budget and hardly any reputation left in Hollywood is astounding. I do love the animation, but I’ll stand by the fact that it was executed way better in A Scanner Darkly. I do think that film’s animation is better suited for a drug trip, and this film is better suited to recreate thoughts and dreams, but as far as which one is finer looking, I think it’s the successor - although that shouldn’t take away from the beauty this movie uniquely has. It’s really a trip, this movie. Every shot impressively looks like a Cezanne painting, always distorting, always reshaping itself, always moving. God, this movie is just a philosophy and thought dump with the mask of a beautifully animated movie. I think the correlation between style and content is here, and that argument is easy to make, but I can’t help but wonder if Rick can top this movie. I think he could. And I would love to see him do it with more control over his color palettes and animation style, because the tacky look of this movie turns me off just as much as the animation style draws me in. But for now, it’s hard to top this movie. I mean, shit, man, just watch how everything moves in this film. I think the rewatchability is the only characteristic of this film left to confirm the greatness of that would knock it down a few pegs, but as far as my expectation and the execution, and my hoping A Scanner Darkly didn’t ruin the experience of seeing this animation, I’m blown away right now, and I’ve been waiting to see this movie for half a decade now.