A nameless young character goes into travels to the country, meeting some acquaintances and strangers as well, having banal conversations, dedicating his existence into daily mundane ... See full summary »
Follows tour guide, historian and flâneur Timothy 'Speed' Levitch as he visits the monumentally ignored monuments of America's cities, from the shoe gardens of San Francisco to the luckiest subway grate in New York City.
Timothy 'Speed' Levitch,
John C. McDonnell,
Based on a three-character, one-act play, Tape is set entirely in Room 19 of a seedy motel in Lansing, Michigan rented by Vince, an ill-tempered, outgoing party animal/drug dealer who's visited by his old high school friend Jon, a documentary filmmaker, where they pass the time reminiscing about the good old times which take a turn when Vince records their conversation with Jon admitting to a possible date-rape of Vince's old girlfriend Amy, who later shows up and opens up a new wave of talk and arguments about whose story is fact or fabricated. Written by
The set is not an actual motel room, as many viewers assumed, but carefully constructed (and designed by Stephen Beatrice) on a sound stage and including many remarkable details, such as the curtain being cut around the air conditioner, and stains on the wall that betray missing pictures. See more »
Early in the movie, Vince is drinking in front of the bathroom mirror, and a camera and cameraman are reflected in the mirror. See more »
When it starts, Tape seems like a very unprofessional, student film and I was expecting not to like it - but by the time it's reached it's conclusion, Richard Linklater's talky little drama has hit all the right notes and, despite the fact that this is simply three actors spending 85 minutes in one location; Linklater has done what he did with Before Sunrise, and proved that great dialogue is enough to make a film great. Of course, he didn't write this film, and that honour goes to Stephen Belber, whose play this film is based on. The dialogue itself is brilliant, and it's constantly fascinating to see how the characters are built up through what they say. Although we don't know anything about these characters before the film starts, by the end we know about them just through their dialogue, which shows the thought that has been put into everything the characters say. The plot is deliciously simple, which gives all of the characters room to expand and interact with each other. Basically, what we have here is two high school friends that meet up in a motel room for the first time in ten years. While there, they discuss the darker areas of their time together at school
Of course, for this film to work, good actors are a definite must have; and this film definitely has them! Ethan Hawke massively impressed in Linklater's Before Sunrise, and he does so again here, albeit in a totally different way. The character he has been given here is much harder to like than his one in Linklater's masterpiece, but Hawke shows his worth as an actor by brilliantly stepping into the role, and giving his character a definite grounding in realism. His co-stars, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman give similar portrayals, and the ensemble helps to make the film what it is. What makes films like Tape great is their ambiguity. Many of the things that the characters say can be interpreted in different ways, and most people will have different ideas as to why certain characters say certain things. The story behind the immediate goings on is well orchestrated, and even though nothing that the characters are talking about is shown; it's still easy to picture it. What happens in the hotel room is also very well executed, and the playwright has made sure that his story is never boring. Linklater's use of the camera is good, with the swirling angles creating a claustrophobic feel within the small confines of the hotel room. Tape is the sort of film that can be analysed in all different ways, and that gives it infinite rewatch value and when the material is this good; rewatching can only be a pleasure.
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