Sundance Review: Slipstream
by Alex Billington
February 3, 2007
I'm not sure if this can be called a review, rather a reaction, because my mind was so immensely skewed and twisted after see this movie. Slipstream is a jarring, misconstruing story about Felix Bonhoeffer (played by Anthony Hopkins), who is a script writer from Hollywood, and his degrading mind. In Slipstream, which was written and directed by Anthony Hopkins as well, they're filming the movie that Bonhoeffer had written, and it gets out of hand - an actor dies from heat exhaustion on set. From there it takes some truly wild turns and throws in a whole heaping load of characters and actors, including Christian Slater, Michael Clarke Duncan, and John Turturro.
The film is wickedly experimental, and hardly boring, but hardly entertaining either. What I'll tell you is that it's much less coherent than Tideland, but certainly much more thrilling. It often seems to even make fun of itself and the whole filmmaking realm. The characters change in a snap, the whole world is different, and you'll think everything is fine then it changes entirely. Even after seeing it I had to go reread the synopsis again and try and make sense of it - which describes it as a tale of one man's journey between his two states of existence, one in reality and one in his mind. Editing gimmicks are used abundantly, where brief moments are replayed and reversed and snaps happen quickly and confusingly. It even runs entirely through the film backwards at the end as the credits roll.
Slipstream itself is a very interesting outlook on cinema and artistic vision, but in such an experimental way. Like David Lynch and sometimes like Terry Gilliam, you just have to respect the artistic values that Hopkins was going for and what he did achieve in the end. I'm much more intrigued at how Hopkins came up with all of this, from the scripting to the sudden changes in characters, and then directed and edited it all together, more than I am fascinated at the final outcome.