Richard Linklater’s Slacker (1990) undeniably made its mark on independent film making with its stylistic, satirical and compelling mode of story-telling. The free-flowing style of the film follows a day in the life of the “slacker” type found in Austin where we briefly tune into their conversations before their path is crossed and we follow the next “slacker”. I guess you can say its reminiscent of aimlessly flicking through TV channels in the a.m. or the feeling of “sonder” or perhaps even slightly overhearing the conversations of people passing by you on the street when you’re tripping. With underlying themes of insubordination, nonconformity and political awareness each character is enriched as the perfect archetype of the “slacker”.
The film starts with Linklater (a ‘slacker’ himself) as a taxi passenger warped in E.T/UFO conspiracy theories who spills piles of information to the disinterested taxi driver. We then follow Linklater’s character till he crosses the path of a woman who is struck by a car then follow the perpetrator being arrested then a busker crossing the path of the policemen then a passer-by giving the busker change then a group of ‘slackers’ conversing about Dostoyevsky and so on. It may seem strange and nonsensical but with brilliant direction and writing, Linklater creates a natural flow throughout the film that really just feels right. It’s beauty also lies in its familiar dialogue where you might feel a strong resemblance or an attachment to it, allowing a glimpse of a minute-long conversation to go beyond the screen and into your character too. Shot on a classic 16MM print which immaculately captures the sun and the ambience of a small town evokes more than a feeling but a lasting impression, making its mark on film nostalgia.
director RICHARD LINKLATER
director of photography LEE DANIEL
cast RICHARD LINKLATER, KIM KRIZAN, MARK JAMES, STELLA WEIR, JOHN SLATE
words RAYHAN RAFIQUE
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