Tape (2001) – dir. Richard Linklater

This is quite an intriguing chamber drama from Richard Linklater, proving for certain that in this case, less is more. The minimalist setting is more than made up for by three powerhouse performances from Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Uma Thurman.

The claustrophobic arena of the hotel room works perfectly for the gripping hour-and-a-half-long tension involving newly dug-up demons from their past. The memories of events that are discussed are from each’s carefree days of high school, and are now being strenuously dissected and uncovered as something much darker.

There is definitely more than meets the eye here. At first, the interactions between the characters feel forced and contrived. After uncovering layer upon layer of their past, however, it becomes clear that the uncomfortableness of their demeanor arises from years and years of tension and guilt.

My few problems mainly came with a few technical aspects of the film; the narrative itself, however, it wonderful. As a whole, the film progresses wonderfully, and every actor brings something to the table. It presents itself, overall, as a reflection of the hypocrisy of human interaction that, ultimately, we must all face. This further emphasizes my presumption of Linklater as a flawless director – I hope I don’t get proven wrong anytime soon!

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