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July 25, 2024

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Waking Life
Rated R (FOX Home Video)

By: Randy Harward

Beyond being a talented writer and director, Richard Linklater has always been a stoner's filmmaker (see Slacker, Dazed and Confused). Waking Life, his first animated feature (well, it's animation drawn over live action), is a visual marvel and another homerun. The film follows a young twentysomething (Wiley Wiggins, Dazed and Confused, Love and a .45) as he attempts to discern whether he's "sleepwalking through our waking state or wake-walking through our dreams." The answer is never really clear, as Wiggins' walkabout is peppered with dream-like imagery and dialogue influenced by the a buffet table of thinkers and philosophers (and made extra trippy by cameos from mental leftfielder Timothy "Speed" Levitch, Before Sunrise stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy...reprising their BS roles and Adam Goldberg and Nicky Katt). Therein lies Waking Life's charm, as its story and aesthetic stimulates thinkers and fucks with the burnouts. It's total crossover appeal! Really, the film is a stunningly original work, one that keeps giving on repeated viewings. Wiggins also served as an animator.

The special features are actually worthwhile: Linklater commentary, animator commentary, text commentary, deleted animated scenes, selected takes of the live action version, shorts by Bob Sabiston, featurette, animation software tutorial, trailer, anamorphic widescreen (!.85:1). A

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