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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look: 30%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad32.5%
Total Crap: 7.5%

4 reviews, 16 user ratings

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by Greg Muskewitz

"Sticky, indeed."
4 stars

This is the second feature this year by director Richard Linklater (succeeding the release of Waking Life last month), starring Ethan Hawke. Tape refers not to Scotch tape, but a mini-cassette tape, one that Vince-a “potentially violent dick”-(Hawke) has recorded John (Robert Sean Leonard) confessing to a presumable rape that took place with the former’s ex-girlfriend right after their break-up years ago in high school.

That confession or cognizance doesn’t come easily either, culled only after continuous distraction, beer-guzzling, pot-smoking and equivocal poking. Essentially, the plot thickens and the two-man show adds the presence of a woman, Amy (Uma Thurman), the girl who is speculated to have been raped. There’s plenty of bantering and arguing back-and-forth, over trivial issues of high school personas (“Everyone was a dick in high school. The trick is to evolve”), character and morality (and how it pertains to society). Tape has the look and lingo of the Eighties, but considering that the youthy characters aren’t that old to begin with, they are probably products of the time period, bringing their (supposed) hipness with them in the present period. I appreciate the film obviously much more than Waking Life considering that I’m actually sanctioning this film, but it is less for Linklater’s direction (and far less for the terrible employment of the wheedling and wheeling camerawork, filmed dispensively on digital video) than the advocacy is for the material, the source of origin-Stephen Belber’s play, which he has adapted for the screen. The merits all institute from what is written and what is spoken (Belber lacks the polish and eloquence of David Mamet, but emulates a similar structure), but Linklater doesn’t present it noxiously except for the mistake of using video and the choice for DP Maryse Alberti to spin and whirl the camera around in a sloppy fashion. Hitherto, I was not familiar with Leonard, though his simplistic approach, calm (and when needed, aroused) demeanor, sufficient gestures and smooth articulation could readily make him a favorite. Thurman also brings strength to her role, cautious and weary, composed and direct, she is quite impressive. Hawke on the other hand is not as mature or persuasive, knocking the effectiveness of the others down several notches. Or making them look better.

Final Verdict: B+.

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originally posted: 11/17/01 12:29:19
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User Comments

8/06/09 Caroline Total crap. Terribly slow and a total waste of time. 1 stars
12/01/08 Roz An interesting movie. 4 stars
11/24/05 billie456 Great little arthouse piece, but the camera stunts were sometimes distracting 4 stars
10/23/04 BB Great acting, ditto dialogue, but more of a play than cinema 4 stars
6/26/04 L Ü 3 actors, 1 lone movie scene in a lower-end motel room, low budget but HIGH quality film! 5 stars
12/29/03 Phil M. Aficionado I agree with Dust For Eyes review; plus Uma is a pleasant relief; not enjoyable or inspired 2 stars
6/04/03 Picky critic Great tension throughout. Really keeps your attention. 5 stars
5/14/03 Anthony Worall-T Great film- self conciously stagy and amateur, Sean-Leonard is cool 5 stars
11/24/02 Colin Selby Somebody needs to remove their head from their arse 1 stars
11/24/02 Joe Zappa Dark, but has a good message. Hawke is great, Linklater is pretty good. 3 stars
6/09/02 Butt Don't pass it up. 4 stars
5/28/02 The Bomb 69 interesting to see how man and women interpret things differently 4 stars
4/20/02 natasha the story unfolds in a compelling way and the acting is amazing 4 stars
12/06/01 Isabelle Fournier More worthless crap! Pathetic people fall for it! 1 stars
11/19/01 Film Connoissieur Tape is kick-ass - a Roshomon for the new G 5 stars
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  02-Nov-2001 (R)



Directed by
  Richard Linklater

Written by
  Stephen Belber

  Ethan Hawke
  Robert Sean Leonard
  Uma Thurman

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