a review by Jeffrey Overstreet
“Skepticism is the beginning of faith.” – Oscar Wilde
You may have experienced dreams in which you knew you were dreaming. I’ve heard people talk excitedly about fleeting dreams in which they were semi-conscious and could control what they were doing.
Now there’s a movie in which the main character is well aware that he’s dreaming, but he can’t get out. Some viewers will be fascinated by his dreams. Judging from the reactions of a few, whose seats were empty halfway through the film, others will call this a living nightmare… or at least a dreadful bore. Too bad. You’re not likely to find a movie with a such a generous sampling of challenging conversations unless you sign up for a course in philosophy.
Waking Life, directed by Richard Linklater (Slacker, Before Sunrise) introduces us to Wiley Wiggins. Wiggins might be described as a slacker/seeker. He has the compulsion of every Richard Linklater character — he craves heavy conversation so much that I suspect he doesn’t have time for much else, like a good job or a girlfriend. His favorite songs are probably by Travis, Sparklehorse, or Elliott Smith and his favorite movies are probably My Dinner with Andre and Wings of Desire. He’s Gen-Existential. And he can’t wake up.