Ah, to be stuck in a seedy motel with Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. But this isn't some Hollywood afterparty you may be dreaming of. It's the captivatingly sticky situation of Tape--the screen adaptation of Stephen Belber's prickly play which finds small-time drug dealer Hawke and high school buddy Robert Sean Leonard in a single room, indulging in drinks and drugs and bringing up a 10-year-old sexual encounter Leonard had with Thurman, Hawke's old flame.
Accusations of decency and denial fly, and things get really heated when a shocking confession is taped and Thurman knocks on the door. Indie cult director Richard Linklater comes way down from the atmospheric Waking Life and shoots in hand-held, high-definition video that feels off-the-cuff but offers in-your-face tension and dramatic effect. It works, as does the cast, which uses this room with a view to get the best out of the spontaneous epiphanies and strangely affecting and witty dialogue.