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 »
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
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman were previously in Gattaca together, where Ethan's character was also named Vincent. See more »
When Jon enters the hotel room the door appears only just ajar behind him, when we return to Jon from a shot of Vince the door is wide open, the next shot it is back to its original position. 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 »
Shot on DV in one night at 'Tape' makes the viewer feel like a voyeur peeking into a motel room. It's set in a motel room where two friends reunite after 10 years (ironically Hawke and Leonard also appear together on screen more than a decade after their last film 'Dead Poet's Society') and have a private conversation that turns from the common catching up to unravelling secrets.
The entire movie is pretty much a conversation but it is a layered film with layered characters. The writing is brilliant. The editing it very tight. As the events unfold with clever twists, it becomes an intense human drama and a thrilling experience for the audience. While we are provided with sufficient background information on Amy and Jon, Vince remains somewhat of a mystery. His intentions remain for the viewer to interpret as there are hints that point in different directions. The hand-held camera mostly acts as hidden camera that lures the viewer to look into a private moment of these three character's lives. The swirling camera actually acts like a person itself, who's just sitting there while no one is aware of its presence. Once Linklater builds the tension, he sustains it and keeps the viewer engaged right through the end.
Being a conversational piece, it relies strongly on acting. The performances are solid. Ethan Hawke does a fine job of the (drug-induced) hyper but manipulative Vince. His character may be a bit ambiguous but he plays the part to the T. Robert Sean Leonard is adequate but in some places he seems a little lost. However, after Uma Thurman's entry, he is remarkable. Uma Thurman looks sensational with simple makeup. This is one actress who can look very plain when needed and supersexy when required. Her acting is excellent as she puts the pieces together while cleverly blindfolding the audience allowing them to figure out what happened.
While some people may feel confused at the end, it is very thought-provoking movie as one would try to figure out the puzzle. On the whole, 'Tape' takes us into a different territory that only a few Hollywood films have done. It has some great performances, good direction, brilliant writing and will very likely keep you glued to the screen.
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