Slacker (4 stars)


(15) 93min (Metrodome rental/retail)


Originally released in 1991, Richard Linklater’s fine low-budget second feature may bring to mind one of contemporary cinema’s most over-used storytelling devices: the multiple character tale. But where Crash, 21 Grams, Babel and others allow initial apparent narrative looseness to lead to plot contrivances later on, Linklater’s film isn’t just about slackers, it also has a healthy apparent slackness of form as it wanders around Austin, Texas, focusing for a few minutes on one or two characters, and then moving on to others. This may lead to frustrations – some characters are much more interesting than others – but it also gives the film a documentary feel and time capsule quality. Linklater hasn’t so much created a movie, as dropped into a world. This is fiction less as drama than quirky sociology – but with the sort of sharp, empathic observation he would later bring to Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and, heck, even moments in School of Rock. Minimal extras.

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