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 »
Twenty-eight year olds Jon and Vince, friends from high school, meet in Vince's seedy motel room in Lansing, Michigan. Jon had invited Vince to town from his current residence of Oakland to help celebrate the fact of his latest movie, independently shot, having a screening at the local film festival the following day, the first public screening of one of his movies. While Jon seems to have grown up in having this career path and a nice room in an upscale hotel provided by the festival, Vince, who, in preparing for the evening has already had a few beer by the time Jon arrives, hasn't, he who deals drugs for a living with no change on the horizon, and his girlfriend, who was supposed to accompany him to Lansing, having broken up with him, indirectly because of his immaturity. This divergence quickly becomes an issue of contention between the two. But as Vince's behavior is seemingly more and more substance affected, he having broken out the weed and coke, his intention with Jon may be ...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 »
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 »
She's probably scared.
Oh god, of *what*? I never threatened her!
...You sometimes present a threatening appearance.
Dude... we have been going together for three years.
So... I mean, you'd think she would be used to it by now.
See more »
The end credits move across the screen in the motions of tape inside a playing cassette. See more »
Performed by Brenda Lee
Written by Ronnie Self and Dub Allbritten
Published by Universal Champion Music
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
[Played during end credits] 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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