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As Sir Hopkins was the first to admit: this is a strange film. Because
of Slipstream's structure it is both extremely easy and quite difficult
to "spoil" the movie, but suffice to say that it's the story of a very
mixed up screen writer. It takes a fair amount from films like 8 1/2,
Muholland Drive, and Adaptation, but it's quite different any of them.
For better or worse, the editing style is by far the most distinctive
feature of the film. Every editing technique known to man is utilized
in a short time. Perplexing and subliminal imagery abound, and it would
take many viewings to try and decode it all. I found the editing style
interesting and generally well done, but it does get tiring after a
The cast is superb. There are no huge names here, but Hopkins combines seasoned and well versed character actors with complete unknowns. His part in the film is central but actually takes up surprisingly little screen time, and his performance is subdued. Hopkins emphasized that he saw this film as lighthearted and poking fun at Hollywood. There are certainly some funny scenes, especially on the film set, but this is far from a comedy.
The film is a deeply personal one. Hopkins was on hand to introduce and answer questions about his film at the Seattle Film festival, and he made it clear this is precisely the film HE wanted to make. With few willing to finance such an unusual picture, he put up his own money. When the backers he had tried to put strings on the production, he got rid of them and bankrolled it himself. This is a film meant to be interpreted and understood on an individual level. Hopkins has his own meaning for the film, but we're expected to form our own.
This will doubtlessly be a divisive movie. I guarantee it will gain a cult following with time, and I also guarantee a large portion of the audience will HATE it. Don't go into Slipstream expecting a typical Anthony Hopkins film (if there is such a thing), don't go into it expecting any kind conventional narrative, and don't go into it expecting another Muholland Drive. Whether you view Slipstream as self indulgent trash, or creative brilliance; it's nothing if not unique.
Sir Anthony Hopkins writes, directs and stars in a good old-fashioned "warped reality" movie. Hopkins plays a screenwriter who's revising the script of a movie called "Slipstream" as the movie is being shot. Needless to say, the line between fiction and reality swiftly blurs as characters from the movie start appearing in his real life, and we keep reliving the same scenes from different angles. It's nothing we haven't seen before in the works of David Lynch or Dennis Potter, but Hopkins keeps the action from flagging and provides a surprisingly emotional climax. Definitely worth a look if you like this sort of movie, but I don't expect to see it at too many theaters besides the hardcore art-houses.
Slipstream is a film written, directed and financed by Anthony Hopkins.
If you've seen the previews you will know this looks to be a bizarre
film, but I assure you, it's far more bizarre than the trailers make it
seem. It's not for everyone, and any viewer has to have a great deal of
patience to watch it. Don't expect your typical movie here, and that
includes the traditional concept of a plot: Rising action, climax,
falling action/conclusion. The movie twists from place to place and
never gives much in the way of answers. Towards the very beginning a
man runs out of his car and screams, "We've lost the plot!" In a way,
that's exactly what this movie is about, but it's never exactly clear
what happens in terms of character, or even what the plot is exactly.
Like a Lynch film without his signature twist where the "real world" is suddenly revealed, this film barrels onward into an incredibly strange experiment in film. If you're not into experimental films, or films that give questions and absolutely no answers, DO NOT SEE IT, YOU WILL NOT ENJOY IT. Even if you're into art films or films like David Lynch's, there's no guarantee that you'll like it, but I suggest you give it a rent. If you invest some time in it, I think the randomness starts to take form and meaning, but you have to be patient enough to invest that required time.
Again, to reiterate, if you're not into experimental films, skip this one. To those that are: Rent it, but watch it with an open mind.
A brilliant work and watch for those fascinated with subconsciousness,
dreams, hallucinations. One to see when you're in a suitable mood,
preferably alone during the small hours, or at a night-cinema.
- There's thousands of people who will absorb this experience and appreciate it, but millions who most likely will never even have a clue about it. Ah well, Many guitarists will always be disgusted hearing Jim Hendrix play. Many lover of jazz will suffer heart-attack if they'd have to stay awake on an all-night acid dance-floor. Some are fascinated by abstract paintings while others love the sharpness of a shiny apple on canvas... And thats okay. However, this movie isn't made to interpret from a rational standpoint.
Here's one for the Mindseye...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Be forewarned... this entire review is a spoiler. It should probably be
read AFTER, you've seen this movie.
A Bit Pretentious... Slipstream jams as many postmodern cinematographic clichés as possible into a relatively small package - and throughout the film we are vaguely aware that Director/Writer Hopkins is poking fun as the genre, directing, writing and therefore, indirectly, at himself. This is an art film which seems to parody and pay homage to other art films. Yet Slipstream - if you GET IT - is actually entirely linear. Is this simply modernist gimmickry clothed in postmodern garb, or is it REALLY Hopkins' attempt to make a cinematic joke, as he has said? Is this simply arrogance? Does Hopkins really think that the very serious matters the film involves can be appropriately examined comedically?
I do not believe Slipstream is a joke, a bit of arrogance, or a gimmick. But I can not explain Hopkins' attitude toward the film either.
Had Hopkins strictly followed a post-modern formula, he would have situated himself more completely within the film's metanarrative. However, he denies us this. The one postmodern trope Hopkins is VERY careful to leave out is reflexive self-examination. For me, this artistic decision was aggravating, and I suspect that it will be similarly annoying to anybody who understands what this film's central theme is really about. However, the film itself IS reflexive and in the most obvious manner possible - an important, and jarring, component of the film is the film (Slipstream) being made within the film (Slipstream), with Hopkins (the actual screenwriter and director) himself playing the screenwriter. I will return to this important detail at the end of my review.
Not much of a mystery.... If you have ever intimately known somebody who suffered a severe brain injury, you will understand virtually everything in this film immediately, and you will understand the central plot five minutes after it begins. If you have not, you are more apt to compare the film to better postmodern efforts such as Inland Empire, Elephant Man or postmodernism-influenced pop films such as Memento, The Truman Show, etc. While the comparison is structurally sound, the major difference is that Slipstream is actually about ONE THING - a major brain injury. If you understand Slipstream, these comparisons appear entirely superficial. Rather than creating a feeling or mental state (like Lynch) through impressionism, or playing clever games with chronology, perception, etc, to enhance an otherwise simple set of concepts and stories, Hopkins plays a kind of insider joke which those who have known hemorrhagic stroke victims and other sufferers of major right hemisphere brain injuries will get.
Remarkably Accurate.... This film is a REMARKABLY ACCURATE portrayal of the interior life of a man who has had an acute brain injury. The fact that this man is screen-writer whose most recent effort is being mishandled by a production team of absurd stereotypical Hollywood incompetents is, perhaps, the only truly comedic aspect of the film - but it also an allegoric comment on the subject's experience. The only other possible interpretation (and either one works perfectly in the world of severe brain injuries) is that the film (entitled "SlipStream") is nothing more than a red herring created by the brain-damaged screenwriter as he begins to lose his grip on reality and his perceptions (film being an analogy) spin out of control (as does the film being shot within the film).
Which brings me to an interpretation which, perhaps, explains the joke Hopkins was attempting to make. Not knowing Hopkins (the person) very well, my reader should understand that this is the only part of this review which is abject speculation.
Perhaps Hopkins is reflexively telling us that all of this postmodernism is a result or akin to brain damage (or the societal equivalent). I wouldn't put this level of social criticism past him - the man is certainly brilliant, but, unfortunately, I think we'll never know. And perhaps this is the most postmodern and mysterious aspect of this actually very simple story which has been exploded into a vastly complex thing simply through the method of its telling.
Anthony Hopkins writes, directs,scores and stars in a movie that is
like the bastard child of David Lynch and Peter Greenaway. Its a film
that operates on a visceral level and is akin to being trapped in
someones head (which is the point). Nominally the tale of screenwriter
who is having the real and fantasy worlds of film and his head merge.
Beyond that I can say no more- partly because the more adventurous of
you may want to try this, and partly because I couldn't explain it if I
wanted to. As Hopkins says in the commentary on the DVD about portions
of it "I can't explain it either". Characters come and go everything
refers to everything else, everyone has multiple parts and the film
doesn't end until the film stops. This is food for thought and then
some. It means something and it means nothing. From the opening seconds
you are bombarded with sounds and images that over lap. There are quick
cuts, long takes, things change from shot to shot...and in someways its
like a punch in the face. Its a shot of some hallucinogen in the mind
of someone else thats forced upon you to further mess you up. Its a
mediation on the notion of reality and a puzzle. Its a true masterpiece
of cinema and the most pretentious piece of dog doo. I am in awe of it.
I have no idea who would want to watch it, but I am in awe of it. It is
one of the most personal films I've ever seen. Watching it with the
commentary helps to a certain degree.and in other ways it confuses
things. What the hell is this and how the hell did it get made. One of
a kind. I'm not even sure it goes where Hopkins thinks it goes, yes the
trajectory is kind of foreseeable but at the same time...what the hell
is this? I feel like I've been messed with in a physical manner, like a
truck has hit me. Few films have ever effected me like this. Is it a
good film? I have no idea Should you see it? I have no idea Will I see
it again? probably. This is an experience. Beyond that you're on you're
Rating of 9 out of 10 is for the technical wizardry of the film and because it does what few films do now a days and that is provoke a reaction of some kind in the viewer. The film forces to react in someway either with confusion, laughter or to turn it off. Its is not an indication of what I or you may think of it on any other level.
This is a great surrealist movie, probably the best in years, a true
gem which will become a cult classic. No wonder many people hate it:
one has to open his mind to understand and enjoy it.
If you routinely switch your creative self off with the 'play' button on your DVD, you'll most probably hate "Slipstream". No peace of mind here. If you are expecting a certain plot and a regular story development from exposition to culmination, etc., you'll be disappointed.
Because this is a story of a story. A story that is not cut in stone once and forever but an open one, an unfinished one, unveiling in many different directions at the same time. It involves different scenarios, actors and real life people changing places, untimely side thoughts, personal memories, citations, flashbacks. Not an elaborate lynchian riddle, although it may remind you of one. 'SLIPSTREAM' IS ABOUT HOW OUR CREATIVE MIND WORKS, did you notice the title? It it about a process rather than about a product. A process that cannot be separated from the writer's own life (well, unless what he's doing is a calculated cynical imitation, of which we are seeing plenty) - and that can only be finalized by death. Given the writer is so old, his mind is freely tripping about past and sometimes the future. Logic and sequence are of no more weight here than his subliminal.
Some find 'clipping' visuals in movies disturbing. I would agree in most cases but not in the case of 'Slipstream'. How better can you introspect the creative process of finding the right scene and the right angle? 'He is waiting in front of a bright yellow sports car... no, acid slate green sports car... oh, may it be a violet car looking the other side?' Besides, the camera work is just very tasty and sometimes visuals are quite beautiful, the American landscapes near Vegas in particular.
Being a rich, thoughtful film of many layers, 'Slipstream' is by no means heavy going or dull - provided you do understand what it is about (see above). There are many memorable scenes (i.e. Slater's loaded gun monologue about the 'Body Snatchers') and little gems (like John Turturro shouting into his cell 'Cannot talk any more, I'm on someone's hard disk!'). Funny, sad, scary, absurd, lighthearted - the movie is true to life as a mixed bag of impressions. Think of Lynch's 'Twin Peaks', of Bunuel's 'Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie', some 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', some Fellini's Amarcord - these are hardly direct analogies but just what comes to my mind in response to seeing 'Slipstream'.
Hopkins is predictably fantastic in his role. Slater, Turturro, Tambor deliver excellent performances. A special note must be made of Stella Arroyave who was so natural and rich I could not believe it was her debut role.
I have been a fan of Hopkins as an actor, now I'm also a fan of him as a director, and of his wife as an actress as well. A 10/10 movie without reservations. Do yourself a favour, make a break from stupidity and watch this movie with all your three eyes open.
Personally I did not like this film very much at all. It was tiring trying to follow what was happening as the movie jumps around every 3 seconds. I kept thinking it would possibly stop and show some continuity but alas it didn't - the entire movie was like that. The cast is good and the acting was good but the plot sucked. It didn't draw me in enough to keep my attention. There is barely enough plot for how long the movie is (and it's only 90 minutes). To be honest, the only reason I finished the movie was because I had something else to do while I watched this. I would not recommend this to anyone unless you have severe ADD. I was disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is yet another example that just because something is
stylistically unique and even rhetorically clever, the end result may
not really be that much. Anthony Hopkins directs a movie about Anthony
Hopkins writing a movie that's taken over by a character actor and
re-directed. In theory, this is all happening in Anthony Hopkins'
(okay, the character Felix, but really it's just Anthony Hopkins) head
at the moment he gets hit by a car. In other words, it has its
references and basis in a long history of similarly stylized
metafictional works from "Blood of a Poet" through David Lynch to
"Adaptation." Only it really isn't all that interesting, or even very
Basically, expect to get bored of all the self-referential camera jumps and effects quickly. From the moment the movie begins through the moment it ends, it is non-paced entirely by camera clicks, jump cuts, and purposeful breaks in continuity (later the movie gives reason for this by explaining that the script continuity supervisor was fired). Though this movie is called Slipstream Dream (with the Dream struck out, giving some evidence that Hopkins may have read "House of Leaves", which is cool), I wouldn't call it very dream-like because it's too excessively cinematic. Despite that particular species of film critic who claims that all film is dream-like, very few movies actually successfully pull off a dream- or trance-like state, and this movie definitely, definitely isn't one of them.
One thing Hopkins IS good at, however, is performance, and he gets similar good performances out of his cast. This is a good thing, because long after the stylistic editing has ceased to catch our attention, the characters are actually expressive and interesting enough to hold us through until the ultimately pedantic ending. And for many viewers, the ending will be a relief because it explains so concisely it doesn't really leave that much need to re-watch the film to "figure it out", so to speak.
Overall, I didn't actually mind watching it, and I think it's somewhat entertaining in general, plus I think people who are unfamiliar with this genre of film-making will find it fascinating. But there is SO much out there that is like this, only better. So if you were compelled by this movie, see some Lynch, Roeg, the like. And if you were not, don't worry, it wasn't that "you didn't get it".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A confused mess from start to finish. Like they used to say about the
Beatles'songs, there was a secret message if you played the LP
backward. If one had the patience to watch this films scenes from
finish to start, you'd come away with the same degree of
Apart from all of this psychedelic hodge podge of flashbacks and false starts, the clearest characters were the movie backers, out for revenge if the movie didn't get sorted. There was nothing to like about these two either. Overacting, shouting and threats were delivered in comic book fashion. I think one dimensional was an overstatement.
Okay, so maybe the artsy types are rolling their eyes reveling in the fact that unlike them, we plebeians just didn't get it. Well I'm afraid there was nothing to get. And the two cardinal sins of any bad movie carried from start to finish. A non-existent and pathetic story line if you want to call it that, and by far the worst, not a single character you cared about in the least.
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