Saturday, June 18, 2016


To live in a time when Richard Linklater is making movies and I get to see them at the cinema is one of the greatest joys of my life, watching a Linklater movie no matter if for the first or the umpteenth time is simply one of the highlights of my life. The master of on-screen emotion and humanity is back with another touching, nostalgic yet at the same time entertaining and funny portrayal of youth and life that once again taught me so much about myself and about the world it is flattering to get such an experience given to you so liberally and endearingly.

I can't even start to comprehend how one makes Before Midnight then Boyhood and then this film, one after the other and still manages to make his voice fresh and new every time, whilst still saying and moving this quality and quantity of commentary and emotion about life. Linklater is a filmmaker that inspires me beyond the cinematic aspect, he fills me with endless wonder with his films and is probably one of the people most responsible for many life choice's and goals I've made.

I think Linklater is the best screen writer cinema has ever had, this film just confirmed proved that for me. I find there is no other writer that is able to confer and entertain so much with this kind of realism in dialogue, he makes you forget you are watching a film. There aren't any other filmmakers, both past and contemporary, who manage to have characters talk about the most random stuff and yet make it so interesting and pleasant to watch and the more you hear it, the more you get tuned to it, the better it sounds to the point that every word becomes riveting and illuminating.

I guess that it all starts with how Linklater treats his characters, Mark Kermode made a great point in his Boyhood review saying "Linklater is the most humanist of directors [...] people say cinema is a voyeuristic medium in which you look at people, and Linklater looks with people". Whilst with all of that I could not possibly agree more, after watching so many films from him I have realized he doesn't just stop looking with people, Linklater takes it to a whole other level where the characters aren't being judged or manipulated in any way, where everybody is celebrated in their own world, he finds this incredible balance of humanity and beauty within the most insignificant moments on the surface, that yet mean so much and thematically bear a sprawling amount of significance. His look at people and their conditions is humble. That's why he makes the best "hangout movies", because every time we get to visit these characters we are in awe with them, we love them so much because we see the inherent beauty about life and people in their every move.

The best part is the fact that all of the above is done so unpretentiously and non invasively: eight friends going out to drink a couple of beers and get drunk manages to at the same time be entertaining and funny as hell, build character and pathos to the story and say something about social dynamics, the beauty of friendship and comradely and isn't judgmental to any way of thinking. The party scenes, which by the way are some of the most fun I've had in a theater in a long time are also some of the most thematically rich points the film makes.

There's also a brilliant cast to thank for all of this, full of young upcoming actors and unknowns I have to admit that this was even better than Dazed and Confused, by the end of the movie you manage to recognize and place about twenty different people with the utter most confidence. They start as strangers and when the credits roll they all have become friends you would greet when passing by the street, it is incredible. Moreover, there is a magnificent craft in the staging of it all, as always the non invasive camera with long takes and natural movements is as electrifying as always and the visual cues and ideas spread out around the film are indicative of Linklater's talent as a storyteller.

The movie nails it, the feel of comradely and love between friends, the vibe of parties and life in one's twenties, it just gets it perfect and the fact that it is set in the 80s doesn't matter and just further proves Linklater's love for character whom we relate to no matter the setting, this was a blast in every possible way and whilst there are flaws that can be found if one really thinks about them I cannot even care to mention them for how fleeting and insignificant they are in the big picture. I cannot wait to get the privilege to see this again and see what's up next for this incredible director.

James's Score: 8.5/10

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