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 »
Vince closes and hides the blue box containing all his cocaine paraphernalia when Amy knocks on the door. However when she then calls the police, in his mad rush to exit, he once again closes and puts the blue box in his bag. See more »
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I like it like I like a shot of whiskey first thing in the morning: it's good for about 10 minutes and then I want my coffee.
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The end credits move across the screen in the motions of tape inside a playing cassette. See more »
"Tape" is not the best film of the year (in fact, it's not even director Richard Linklater's best film of the year), but it's a strong and intriguing movie experience all the same. Just three characters, one hotel room and a whole boiling pot of backstory. One could almost imagine Linklater, Hawke, Leonard (hey, isn't that Ethan Hawke's roommate 10 years ago in Dead Poet's Society?), and Thurman hanging out with a cool stage play and a DV camera and shooting the whole thing in one night. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing discardable or amateur about this film. But watch how the play, a simple story of old friends confronting old wounds, is transformed by the camera. The story is told in real time in a cramped room, but Linklater's over-cutting almost seems to extend time and space, creating a fully-realized world outside the hotel room walls without ever taking the camera outside. The performances are dead-on and suspense builds right under your nose. Rich and engaging.
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