Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Stephen Belber (adapted from his own play).
Cast: Ethan Hawke (Vince), Robert Sean Leonard (Jon Salter), Uma Thurman (Amy Randall)
What a little gem! Just 3 characters and a single hotel room make for a fantastic moral thriller that keeps you rooted on the edge of your seat for an hour and twenty-four minutes. That is quite a feat.
Yes, they are all talking heads, as is the case with all scripts adapted from plays. But Ethan Hawke (at the time married to Uma Thurman in real life) brings electrifying suspense to the script with his unrestrained performance.
And what’s more, Robert Sean Leonard keeps pace with Hawke at the same level of competition. In traditional punch-for-punch boxing broadcasts, they often use the phrase “pound for pound.” In this unexpected surprise of an adult drama, Leonard matches Hawk “beat for beat” to produce a delicious dramatic feast.
Add to this solid concoction Uma Thurman, in one of her probably most dramatic appearances. When she joins the duo, the suspense is raised to an even higher level. Lovely Uma, who she was sick and tired of seeing in all those Tarantino-inflicted sword-wielding goofball roles, went off the deep end in this film to demonstrate all of her artistic bona fides and boy does she deliver!
“Tape” proves that, in this age of $50-100 million dollar movies, you really don’t need special effects and bank-busting production values to produce an engaging dramatic work. But finding a script with the kind of biting, high-voltage dialogue that Stephen Belber came up with might not be easy, either. Top-notch writing turns into 4th of July fireworks in the hands of a fine director and three solid gold actors.
The story in a nutshell: Vince-the-Loser proves that his high school friend Jon-the-Achiever has nothing to get over with him when it comes to moral rectitude, and their mutual high school girlfriend (turned Deputy District Attorney) Amy couldn’t agree more. .
Rent this perfect little movie and enjoy the exhilaration of a perfectly done work of art. A foodie 9 out of 10.