Movie Review – Waking Life

Posted: July 26, 2014 in Movie Reviews
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Linklater steals my dreams. First he stole mine with Before series, now he’s tracing a life of an individual, he has already made Slacker which I’m yet to watch but I thought I’ll be the only one who has that idea. And he makes an animation film close to Slacker here. Though I can’t say Waking Life was my dream, it definitely was part of my dream. I wanted to make something related to this.

waking life

Waking Life didn’t appeal to me as much as Before series did to me. But I don’t think any other movie will ever do. Before sunrise wasn’t just my dream film but it was also about my dream love, dream life. But here even though it didn’t appeal to me as much as the former it wasn’t because it is an animation. In fact animation is used to fullest advantage here. The images are unsettling, literally! The images keeps on hanging here and there. They aren’t in a constant plane. That’s because everything is a dream. If it’s a dream you don’t have to stick to boundaries. It’d be a lesson to Indian filmmakers to use the dream context rather than using it just for songs. See how confined our thinking is.

And of the various unsettling images there is a beautiful scene where Wiley gets up from one of the dreams. The image goes from black and white abstract lines to colored full framed images. But as the scenes are dreaming there is a 100 percent chance of that scene being not noted. But the idea is fascinating.

Linklater lives on the dialogue, thrives on it. To his advantage all the characters in his film are honest individuals so the philosophical angle works perfectly. May be all his films are dreams. All ideal characters whom you want to meet if you are an artist. See here, a lady talks about how words have no definitive meaning, how it goes from one person to other and the other makes something of it. The person who actually says those words assumes that the receiver has got what she tries to say. The beauty of it is she explains everything through words and we don’t know what to be understood of this.

Pleasure was when Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy came into the movie. It was lovely to watch them. Julie’s smile was so real even in animation. It’s a treat to watch. What a women she is. Making me fall in love every single time. For a moment I thought this film is an amalgamation of all his previous films but again I wasn’t sure because I was not exposed to much of his films. But finally came to a conclusion it couldn’t be as all characters were similar but for that single reason I couldn’t dismiss the fact that the movie is not a culmination of his previous movies.

I wonder why Linklater is not as famous as his peers who make great independent movies. Is it just because he’s using dialogues? But by using dialogues he doesn’t become literal. He gives whole new meaning to words and voices. He does with dialogues what Paul Thomas Anderson does without it. And good thing is he also makes you genuinely happy unlike other greats who push you into depression while watching their movies.

This movie has a lot of parallels to The Discreet Charm of Bourgeois, another movie about dream in dream. Bourgeois pushed me into depression with its greatness but Waking Life didn’t. That doesn’t mean it’s any less great that Bourgeois but Linklater has this discreet charm to make movies that connect with people.

Waking Life is in a way, modern version of Origin of Species with topics ranging from existentialism to politics to afterlife. The beauty here is not like reading one chapter after the other as taught in school. But a profound way of learning where we see each and every individual ready to answer our unasked questions. Linklater probably has read a lot, has a lot of knowledge otherwise he couldn’t write like this, couldn’t write at all for that matter. But what he specializes is the way he jump topics. How Salinger does in Catcher in the Rye, how we do while we talk with our peers during lunch. So here the information is not imposed forcefully on us but rather falls on our ears like honey dew words.

Waking life is one such film where u tend to love it more every time you think about it, converse about it, read about it than at the time you actually watched it.


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