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
Linlater's ramble gathers force and wins you over.
The concept, cinematically, of TAPE is the conceit that you are going to keep three actors in a room talking for an hour and a half and that we are going to stay interested. At the top we have a giddy and uncomfortable Ethan Hawke who is awaiting the arrival of his friend Robert Sean Leonard. The interaction between these two seems forced at the beginning...almost as if the two actors know they are stuck in a room for awhile and they better make it interesting. But soon enough, one comes to realize that the uncomfortability is due more to the estranged and uneveness of the two's relationship more than anything else.
TAPE unfurls in an imrov-like environment (I was actually surprised this was a play in that I did think the actors imrovising)where theres overlapping, interruptions, belches and tangents...it leads you to believe you are on a banal ride of actor's without direction and slowly steers you towards and unexpected conclusion. Luckily, true to Linklater, this conclusion isn't of the gunshot variety( always the easy out when faced with the harder possibility of character epiphany of any sort)but rather of the more painful type of self-reflection and realization.
Hawke bumbles, preens and flounders all over the screen as Leonard expertly evades scrutiny...but the real revelation here is Thurman. For the first time since Beautiful Girls she is just -playing-a person. Doing so, she shines right through in her most powerful role to date. She arrives completely in her own skin and then, without much of any prestidigitation, uses that same humble demeanor to lance through the boys complete murk and bulls**t. For that reason alone this film merits viewing.
It's other virtue is in it's rambling force in which it arrives at an honest dissection of our own hipocrisy.
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