Films are filled with moments. Exciting moments, action packed moments, emotional moments, hilarious moments, etc. These moments either come by fast and strong or slow and methodical, but, at most, films contain a handful of these to continue the plot and overall flow of the film. If you ever decided, though, to make a movie based on one moment, and to dig deeper into what makes a moment of something so special, you’d probably have a Richard Linklater film. Linklater is the kind of director who is much more interested in exploring the interactions of characters and their purpose in that “moment” instead of exposition or a drawn out film. With these, his films end up snappy, drawn out, and incredibly infectious, with his best easily being Dazed and Confused.
Dazed and Confused follows a group of junior high and high school students as they explore their last day of school in May, 1976. Filled to the brim with laughs, emotions, and a pretty killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a masterpiece in character exploration and storytelling.
A lot of the nuances and expertise given to a film of this caliber are all thanks to the incredible Linklater. Following up his cult hit Slacker, Linklater decided to follow the same path of one-day storytelling and minimal exploration of characters, albeit this time on a bigger scale. Unlike Slacker, though, we stay with the same characters all the way to the end, and in the process learn more about them than any ounce of exposition could ever give. That’s really the magic of Linklater’s storytelling, at the end of the day: the way he can explore a set of normal-looking and -behaving people, but display the complexities of romances, relationships, and personalities through actions and make it all convincing. Sure, the film takes place in 1976, but these are people you or I have met on different occasions, and this is really propelled to new heights by being blessed with such an all star cast. Jason London, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, Joey Lauren Andrews– the list goes on and on and on. It’s overwhelming, but they just melt into their roles so much where you’ll barely notice. Well, except for Matthew McConaughey maybe.
Dazed and Confused is one of the best coming-of-age films to have ever graced cinema screens around the world, and you’re doing the film an injustice by ignoring it. If you haven’t seen it, get on it!
Dazed and Confused
dir. Richard Linklater
Screens Thursday, 5/31, 7:00pm @ Brattle Theatre
Double feature w/ Wild in the Streets