Waking Life | Chicago Reader

Waking Life

Richard Linklater's exciting and innovative feature (2001) was shot on digital video, then transformed into a new kind of animation that works wonders with the subtleties of body language and creates hallucinatory effects with palpitating backgrounds. There isn't much of a story in any ordinary sense: a young college graduate walks around Austin, Texas, trying to decide if he's dreaming or awake. In a way the movie rethinks and replays most of Linklater's previous features: the overall narrative drift through Austin recalls Slacker; the hero is Dazed and Confused's Wiley Wiggins; Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are discovered in bed, continuing a conversation they started in Before Sunrise; and Linklater himself puts in a couple of appearances. You might be frustrated if you're looking for plot rather than movement, action rather than pulsing vibration, but I had a ball.

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