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 first three minutes of the movie have no dialogue. 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 »
Do you have any idea how much those drugs cost?
There'll be other drugs, Vincent.
I know... but, I really liked those ones.
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The end credits move across the screen in the motions of tape inside a playing cassette. See more »
What an amazing experience this is! Stephen Belber's screenplay, based on his play, is magic, pure magic. Richard Linklater, with his daring direction, has done the impossible and made a totally compelling film with only three characters in a single dreary motel room. How does one do that? How would you ever get funding for such a crazy project? This is just about as extreme a cinematic risk as it is possible to take. But they more than pulled it off, they triumphed. And by 'they' I include the three spell-binding actors: Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Uma Thurman. What a showcase of acting genius this film is! It is impossible to fault any of the three in even the slightest flicker of a facial muscle, or the slightest whisper of dialogue. One wonders whether they may possibly have rehearsed for six months and all lived together day and night to do this. Were they in fact cooped up in that motel room for the duration of the shooting? I would believe it. This film goes beyond honesty, it goes beyond revelation, it goes beyond nakedness and baring of an actor's soul, it is an X-ray film, or even a gamma-ray film, where every organ can be seen, and every pulsation or heartbeat viewed through the transparency of the shimmering and aetherial forms which they all have. One wonders whether Belber may have lived through this. Can he possibly have imagined it? Could anyone? Uma Thurman meets these two fellows for the first time in ten years, since high school. They inflict their traumas on her, and she inflicts hers on them. This is mutual laceration which is as brilliant as that found in Edward Albee's 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', which may have inspired Belber. Thurman's character has pride, and does not wish to be dragged into the open admission of a past indignity, whereas Hawke's character is driven obsessively to expose it, ostensibly in her interests, but really in his own. Leonard's character is in a way the hapless victim of both, although he was the perpetrator and the original guilty party. The psychological dynamics of all this are as complex as a NATO war game. We are on the edge of our seats every second, or we are if we are interested in human nature. This is spectacle without concession. This is raw, seriously raw. Everything is ripped away here. This is what might happen at the Day of Judgement. There is nothing left to hide.
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