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Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three and a half moon gifTrimark Home Entertainment (DVD-Rom), ASIN B00005YUPJ
Regrets, love, bitterness, forgiveness all unspool at random points at multiple times throughout Richard Linklater's Tape. The film focuses on two best friends, Vince (Ethan Hawke) and Jon (Robert Sean Leonard), and their high school girlfriend, Amy (Uma Thurman). The three gather together to celebrate the opening of John's film at a Lansing, Mich., film festival.

DVD: Tape If you're thinking Big Chill, fuhgeddaboutit. We're talking about Richard Linklater. Ten years later, Vince still aches for Amy. He knows -- or suspects -- that John harbors a guilty secret. Plying him with beer and joints and his own hyper and non-physical aggressive nature (in terms of verbal manipulation and argument, Vince suggests a cross between Mike Tyson and Johnny Cochran) Vince gets John to spill his secret -- his perception of the events of a particular evening at a senior high school party.

Once Vince secures the tape of the title, complete with confession, Amy knocks on the hotel door.

I loved the look of the movie (filmed in digital video) from the first shot in the bright motel bathroom. Although darker colors appeared quite distinct, with little fudging or blurring even when contrasted with bright whites, the lighting seemed true to real life. Some cameras and video equipment can't handle close white lighting (such as you find in the close quarters of a bathroom) on darker colored clothing and skin tones. But whatever Linklater chose in terms of cameras and film stock worked fine, combining the best aspects of stage and film.

Originally adapted from a play, Tape's use of digital video embraces the greater intimacy of the stage in general, and the subject and themes of this play in particular. In this type of film, with this type of camera, which I know must be a few steps beyond your drunk uncle's third wedding, there lies a perfect match of intimacy and realistic film shadings, all the more appropriate for the brutal, honest, forgiving realism of the subject matter.

Any Oscar-moaners (those who bitch because their favorites don't win or never get nominated) out there can consider the next two sentences a palliative -- or an alternative -- to reality. Or even a mantra. Pretend neither Mel Gibson nor Ron Howard never won best director and Richard Linklater did.

Michael Pacholski

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