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Tape [Import]

Ethan Hawke , Robert Sean Leonard , Richard Linklater    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Reunion of Sorts July 20 2003
Format:DVD
It's not easy to make a film work when the whole thing takes place in a single room, but Linklater and Hawke make it happen in TAPE. It's the story of two old high school buddies who meet up in a hotel room and discuss their friendship and then their rivalry. Ethan Hawke is still angry that Robert Sean Leonard made some whoopee with Hawke's high school girlfriend, Uma Thurman and Hawke wants Leonard to admit that it was rape. They go so far as to invite Thurman to the hotel room and discuss it with her. Did he or didn't he?
Director Richard Linklater handles the material well, it was based on a stage play, and the actors hold their own. Hawke and Leonard, you'll remember were roommates in Dead Poet's Society and Thurman is married to the Hawke, so it is quite a labor of love among friends. I enjoyed the film all the way through but it isn't something I am likely to watch again. A nice one-time event.
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Format:DVD
Alright, I'll just let it fly right now: I don't think I've seen a movie since Dead Poet's Society in which Ethan Hawke doesn't kinda blow. He's not so believable in Linklater's Before Sunrise, got undeserved acclaim for Training Day, and pretty much destroys the art of acting in Taking Lives. So it was a nice surprise to see him not suck after Linklater's fascinating, superbly acted (holy crap, I just said that about an Ethan Hawke movie) Tape, which needs about 20 minutes to get its look-at-me-I'm-a-badass-indie-film-shot-on-DV-with-cool-angles attitude out of its system. But after that, whoa boy. The film takes place entirely in a low-rent motel room where Hawke is staying; his high school pal, played by the underappreciated Robert Sean Leonard (the guy who blew his brains out in DPS), drops by and before you know it, it's less high school reunion and more Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. You see, Hawke's Vince exposes a secret from Leonard's Jon's past and a cunning game of psychological hot potato begins. What impressed me the most about Tape is how it defied my expectations at every point that the movie turned - there are more twists in it than a Hollywood thriller, and the movie becomes so engrossing at points that interest becomes giddiness. But the best thing about Tape is how well its actors (including Uma Thurman, who drops by in a pivotal role) navigate the facial and verbal expressions that would accompany such an encounter. For a low-budget indie that could have been pretentious and silly, this movie is so well-nuanced and executed it'll have you clamoring for more in its all-too-brief 84 minutes. GRADE: B+
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ethan, Uma and Bob leave Hollywood Oct. 2 2003
Format:DVD
...in this fascinating movie. Not often can a director pull off an adaptation of a one act off-off Broadway theater piece into a full feature movie yet Linklater manages to do just that. So did the actors; all three roles required intelligence, emotional sensitivity and instinct that one certainly does not expect from Hollywood icons. In some way this film is already (as it should be) a classic. Myself I kept being reminded throughout of Bergman (& Uma certainly made me think of Liv Ullman).
I was also reminded of high school, its pressures and bittersweet romances that can never be forgotten and that, for better or worse, defined life paths for many of us. The first love, the first rejection, the first true friendship... Linklater shows that these can coalesce, blend, and differentiate in an elaborate dance of memories and emotions. What is free will? how do we define ourselves? what is self-respect and how does it stand up to emotional revelations? Why would one want to stay and face the demons from one's past rather than flee into the oblivion of worldly "success"? These are all issues Linklater and his actors distill into a bewildering and intoxicating beverage that makes for fidgety yet irresistible viewing.
A lot in this movie (like in any good theater) is left unsaid; in other words, it is left to be conveyed by actors' body language and energetic tone of their emotions. They succeed spectacularly. This movie should be a required part of curriculum of every acting school worthy of its designation. I would especially recommend it to European actors (who often seem to miss the best American productions) and directors (who should know better).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Claustrophobic Masterpiece Aug. 28 2003
Format:DVD
Wow. Ok, so that is a pathetic way to start a movie review. But my god, what a movie.
Tape is directed by Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Waking Life) and stars Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and Uma Thurman. They are the only cast members of the film and the entire feature takes place in a single motel room.
The film was shot on digital and the opening sequences had me dreading yet another movie that is to showcase the direction and film quality with no real plot. I could not have been more wrong.
There are very few films that can be carried merely by the dialogue of the actors. Tape is one of them. As the credits started rolling, both my husband and I were sitting in awe with our mouths hanging open. And the amazing thing is, while I knew what was happening and even predicted the ending, I was still completely captivated as I watched it unravel.
It's very realistic in presentation. Though by the end, you still don't know what the true reality of the film was. But I think that's how it's supposed to be. Very reflective of life. The difference between true fact (if there is such a thing) and the perceptions of the people involved. The effect that intention has on a situation.
I highly recommend this movie, especially if you liked Before Sunrise and Waking Life. Though beyond being based on dialogue, Tape is in a league of its own.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard together again
Richard Linklater(School Of Rock, Suburbia, Dazed and Confused) directs this powerful and in your face experience about three friends who come back in their lives and then things... Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2003 by Michael Bolts
4.0 out of 5 stars THE GATTACA REUNION, BUT LESS OF HOLLYWOOD THAN U'D IMAGINE
If you're crazy about Ethan Hawke and Uma Therman, as I am, this off-beat Linklater endeavour may be worth a ride. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2003 by Shashank Tripathi
1.0 out of 5 stars overrated
so i loved slacker, dazed & confused and waking life immensely. i have nothing but good things to say about richard linklater. but this, this movie, this is an insult. Read more
Published on June 23 2003 by nestalicious
4.0 out of 5 stars ACE
A few of my fellow reviewers have stated that nothing happens in this film, their wrong, I'm not sure what they where expecting from based on a stage play with a three man cast. . Read more
Published on May 3 2003 by "rightmango"
1.0 out of 5 stars For film students only
If you enjoy dissecting camera angles and critiquing actors, then you may enjoy this film. The set and cast are limited, so there is a lot of time to concentrate on those subtle... Read more
Published on March 4 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting
whereas most morality tales will bring up one or more questions and focus on the ethics of the answers, this movie seems to me to be bringing into question the idea of ethics and... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2003 by Alabaster Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama
This movie is a nice change from Hollywood movies. It is not about visual effects or soundtracks, nor $20 million actors. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2002 by Devin Wagner
3.0 out of 5 stars I wonder what hotel that was!
First off, I don' rate any movies five. Second, this wouldn't be a 3 but somewhere in between a 3 and 4. This movie mightily kicked booty. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2002 by Objective if the movie is good in my opinion
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this one more than Once
This movie adaption of an off-broadways play is intriguing and somwhat disturbing the first time through. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2002
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