After the artful and trippy philosophy of "Waking Life", Richard Linklater brings us a similarly unconventional, yet more subtle, study of human behaviour in "Tape", a gritty drama which charts an uncomfortable reunion between three college friends.
The action takes place in a motel room when old college friends Vince (Hawke) and John (Leonard) meet up. John, a film maker, is in town for a film festival, and Vince just happens to be in the vicinity.
What starts as a preppy reunion soon turns into a psychological game between the two friends, involving a date rape incident with John's ex, Amy (Thurman). The film then progresses, at a deliberate pace, into a detailed and surprising character dissection.
Linklater captures the meeting on grainy video, using a variety of camera angles and offbeat editing to intrude upon the dialogue, changing visual perspective while the character is still mid-sentence.
This creates a rather skewed feeling, breaking up the rhythm and pace of the speech and creating a feeling of uncertainty - echoing that of the plot.
As a result, Linklater conjures up an atmosphere that is more intimate than comfortable to watch.
Originally written as a stage play, the subject matter and format take Linklater right back to basics. Unfortunately, though, "Tape" still has the feel of theatre or small screen.
Despite these problems, it remains engrossing and dynamic viewing thanks to convincing dialogue and lively acting, most notably from Hawke.