Customer Review

15 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Waste of Time, May 31, 2005
This review is from: Waking Life (DVD)
There is a popular misconception that seems to float about among these psuedointelectual film school types; that being that reading a synopsis of the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre or Albert Camus and inserting the resultant vague understanding thereof into a film, well, that clearly equates to absolute genius. Waking Life, Richard Linklater's pompous foray into the realm of intelectual masterbation, has masterfully exploited this misguided notion and made a whole lot of money to boot.

The film is little more than a series of philosophical treatise, vainly refferencing the existentialists through heavy-handed monologues and pretentious one-liners. These hackneyed vinettes are loosely strung together under the flimsy pretext of a plot involving a young man who may or may not be dead meandering through a variety of dreams. In the end, what I will begrudgingly reffer to as "the plot" serves as little more than a soapbox upon which Linklater can stand and announce, "Behold! I am inteligent! I understand the way life works! Prostrate yourselves, oh ye less learned masses, before my mighty intelect!"

As for the film's key selling point, the high-tech stylized animation rendered on top of the film, it does a fantastic job of reinforcing the self-important obsessions of the filmmaker. What would otherwise have been an excedingly dull picture has roped in countless people based solely on a cheap-ass gimmick. That's all it is. An insulting gimmick designed to dress up an utterly stupid and self-agrandizing piece of celluloid trash.

Now I realize that this is not a popular take on the film. It's far easier to praise it as a piece of modern philosophical gold, to laud Linklater as the intelectual messiah, but the fact is that he has made a film expousing the philosophical views of a well-read tenth-grader and passing them off as being spawned from his own fertile (or perhaps not) imagination. We get it, Rich. You read a book on existentialism. Now shut up and go make Dazed and Confused 2: Electric Bugaloo.
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