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Digital technology in filmmaking has, according to some, created an ability to experiment with performances, to focus on the writing in a way that is more freeing than working in 35 mm. We can test the truth of this theory in Richard Linklater's adaptation of Stephen Belber's stage play Tape. The action of the film takes place in a motel room in Lansing Michigan where Vince, Ethan Hawke, is downing beers and smoking dope in anticipation of seeing his old school friend Jon, Robert Sean Leonard, who's back in town to show his film at the local film festival. Vince, who's a volunteer fireman in Oakland and a purveyor of dope to mostly over 50's with quite a bit kept for himself, has arrived back in his home town with an agenda. He wants to manipulate a confession out of Jon that he raped Amy, Uma Thurman, an ex-girlfriend, who is now an Assistant District Attorney. The two men spar for almost two thirds of the film, and then Amy turns up. Rehearsed for two weeks and shot in six days Tape is mesmerising stuff indeed. The reality of the performances - Hawke and Thurman are absolutely superb - gives credence to the themes of envy and competition, of revenge and the striving for high moral ground and of the vulnerability and power of women. The use of DV gives an amazing immediacy to the work, it looks totally fluid as if it were real life captured in real time. If Tape is an example of where filmmaking can go using new technology it's a blissful alternative to so many of the meaningless digitally enhanced high concept plastic films we see so often on screen these days. Comments by David Stratton Three tiresome characters meet in a motel room and act their heads off in this dispiriting piece of filmed theatre. It's impossible to like any of these people and though the cast members have distinguished themselves in the past, there's nothing very interesting in the roles they play here. The frenetic editing and odd camera angles attempt to give the film a visual momentum, without much success.

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MA15+
1 hour 26 min

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