While most people would probably remember him as the guy who made “Before Sunrise”, Richard Linklater will always be to me as the guy who made (and is responsible for the amazing cinematography of) “Waking Life”. Waking Life is probably the trippiest movie i’ve seen that is both visually inspiring and intensely thought-provoking, given that the whole film is a slew of various perspectives of life, death, love and everything in between.
It’s not an easy movie to watch — it’s definitely one that can leave you either hating it or loving it. It took me a while to appreciate it (i saw the film 3 times before i fully understood most of the conversations) — you actually have to see it more than once to really get (most of) it. While the premise is about a young man in a lucid-like state, the film resonates a ton of philosophical ideas and discussions (reminding me of my college Philo I class), like existentialism, lucidity of life and posthumanity, among others.
The visuals assault you in so many ways — the film was rotoscoped to begin with, wherein the film is shot digitally, after which a handful of artists draw out the scenes in stylized and varied ways. These then are carefully pieced together to create the film, making the treatment wildly varied. The music is hauntingly beautiful, adding to the cerebral experience.
Therein lies, i guess, the dilemma — with so many things assaulting your senses, you got to have full concentration (and at times, extensive knowledge) on the film and its deluge of discussions, otherwise you’re lost. Still, in spite of this, it is something special — the idea of discussion so vivid and shown in such a creative and unlikely manner compels one to ask and wonder themselves, sparking more questions, piquing more interest.