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Tape is a one act, three-hander about friendship, guilt, manipulation, truth and memory, captured on audio, shown on video. Stephen Belber (who also wrote The Laramie Project which I wish I'd seen) adapted his play for the screen but I'd imagine the changes were minimal, maybe even trivial, as the entire action takes place in one motel room. Not that this is a play that would have benefited from being "opened up" for the screen - the claustrophobic setting suits the subject matter well.

Like all good talking head plays the centre of power shifts several times from character to character. It takes a little while for the story to get going but once the first power shift occurs the tension is maintained until the last scene.

Ethan Hawke is twitchy and energetic, Robert Sean Leonard self conscious and preppy, and Uma Thurman tense and taut. Director Richard Linklater overdoes the camera angles and whip pans a few times but not to the point where it becomes overly distracting. Shot on digital video Tape is among the worst looking movies I've seen. The medium isn't an excuse as other low-budget films manage to look decent (eg The Anniversary Party). However shabby production values doesn't stop me from recommending the film.

Comments (2)

I thought Moises Kaufman wrote THE LARAMIE PROJECT...or was Belber part of the Tectonic Theater group?

You're correct on both counts - I was sloppy in my phrasing and research.

Kaufman was the author for The Laramie Project. The "head writer" was Leigh Fondakowski. Stephen Belber was indeed a member of the Tectonic Theater Project and one of three credited "associate writers", along with Greg Pierotti and Stephen Wangh. Belber also acted in the production.

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