Director: Richard Linklater
Screenwriters: Stephen Belber

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


With the evolution of digital filmmaking, it can be argued that the importance of a great story has become even more critical. Tape has such a story.

Richard Linklater flexes his cinematic muscles with a three-character ensemble piece set within the confines of a tawdry motor lodge in Lansing, Michigan. After ten years apart, three disparate people come together to play out the unresolved drama of their final days in high school. Intrigued, we watch as layers of denial are slowly peeled away. Suspense builds as each character is provoked into revealing his or her true nature and motivation. Mesmerized, we are drawn into their lives as each character must choose which cards to play and which cards to hold.

While Tape can be quite challenging, it is also tremendously fun to watch unfold. The stellar cast boasts the talents of Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Robert Sean Leonard. There is a sense that all three are inhaling the deep breath of artistic freedom, as if the confines of the location are setting them loose creatively to stretch and explore their bounds. All three actors are in their very best form, and so is Linklater. Making effective use of the digital format, he makes us the silent observer inside the hotel room, and, as with most of Linklater's work, the social and political ramifications are subtly interwoven into the story, forcing the viewer to ultimately draw a moral hypothesis of his or her own. With provocative yet simple theatricality, Tape makes for a purely enjoyable experience.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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