Sundance '07: Quint sees Anthony Hopkins' directorial debut SLIPSTREAM!!!
Published at: Jan. 22, 2007, 1:22 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here.
I went in to Anthony Hopkins' debut as a writer/director knowing only that he had a great cast and that there was a noirish aspect to the flick. I think Hopkins' reputation had me expecting a completely different film. I thought I was in for a delicately plotted actor's showcase, the twist being the noir setting, with quick witted characters in fedoras.
What I got was an extremely experimental film I would have expected more from a youthful film student testing out the medium for the first time.
The film plays as a fractured narrative, a dream-state that bends different realities. On one level you have a hitman losing his mind, on another level you have a screenwriter writing the story of the hitman and the film crew shooting it. Those blend and mix and make Hopkins' film. At times they even procreate and spawn other levels of bizarreness.
The editing is absolutely squirrel-fucking insane. Tony Scott will watch this movie with a stiffy. Vern will watch this movie and go into "avid fart" seizure. There is not one scene that goes by without the frame flipping or time reversing for a line and then going back forward again or some almost subliminal stock footage being cut in or something even more random happening, like a car inexplicably changing color for a few frames and then turning back.
At the Q&A afterwards, Hopkins said that he views the whole thing with a great sense of humor. His whole goal was to make a film that threw every single film convention out the window, sot he result is a kind of mix of David Lynch bizarreness and Terry Gilliam's dream quality, creating something wholly new.
I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's certainly not a film that everyone will enjoy, in fact I'd say most people wouldn't have the patience for it. It's the very definition of experimental filmmaking, but on a much larger scale than most such films. This is an experimental film made by a Knight of the Round with cinematography by Dante Spinotti (LA CONFIDENTIAL, MANHUNTER) and dozens of recognizable faces, from Hopkins himself to Jeffrey Tambor, Christian Slater, Michael Clarke Duncan, John Turturro, Reba the Mail Lady from Pee-Wee's Playhouse and even Kevin McCarthy.
That was my favorite part of the film, the use of Kevin McCarthy... at one point Slater's character goes on a very long monologue about INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and then we get a few minutes with Kevin McCarthy doing his thing. It was great seeing him on the screen again. C'mon, Joe Dante. Or Weird Al. Get your butts moving and put McCarthy to work again!
All in all, the audience reception was great. I'm still personally trying to figure out just what the hell SLIPSTREAM is. It all wraps up and makes its own little bit of sense at the end, of course, but I still struggle with my opinion of the film. At times I really respect and admire the film for its weirdness,