Tape (2001)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 72%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,107
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Ethan Hawke
Ethan Hawke
Robert Sean Leonard
Robert Sean Leonard
Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman
Review by ThunderStruck5a
Added: July 11, 2007
To kick this all off let me just say that this could be the cheapest-made legitimate film I have ever seen. Three actors/actresses, one motel room, and no special effects. As far as soundtracks go the only song was Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" along with the sounds of cars pulling up outside and toilets flushing.... not a real groovin' soundtrack.

The screenplay was written by Stephen Belber (1 episode of Rescue Me) and directed by Richard Linklater (Slacker, A Scanner Darkly). The whole story takes place in a motel room where rowdy and rambunctious Ethan Hawke is staying. His old high school friend Jon Salter (Robert Sean Leonard) comes to visit and eventually so does Amy Randall (Uma Thurman). While catching up on their 'glory' days this film turns into a twister of lies, deceit, traitorism, and awkwardness for all three.

The film actually seems like its shot by two people and split into halves. The first half has a LOT of different shots which became increasingly annoying while the second half had a fine amount of angle and shot changes. The first half was also very slow with a lot of lines and actions being repeated. Once the second half started though it was all gravy. The flow was smooth and the film finished up nicely; even coming off with a win at the Venice Film Festival and a nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards.

I saw this while browsing through my town's library and thought it sounded interesting, even though the plot didn't even come close to what I thought it would be when I read the description (that's my bad) but it still was able to hold my attention for the 90 or so minutes it had. Picking it up was a good choice because I had never really noticed Ethan Hawke or Robert Sean Leonard as good actors (it just never came up) but all three did their parts really well. Kudos to them. 8/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 07/12/2007, 10:08 AM
Not only did I have the good fortune of seeing this play before the film came out, but I also had the great luck of being cast in this play shortly after the film came out, playing the role that Robert Sean Leonard played in the film. "Tape" is a very complex play and director Richard Linklater brilliantly transitions that from the stage to the screen with what I consider to be one of his best directorial efforts. Set entirely in a seedy hotel room, what drives the film are the performances and each roles is cast perfectly, especially Leonard as John Salter and Uma Thurman. Loved this film. Glad you reviewed it. 9/10.
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