Linklater's film covers much the same territory as Slackers and Dazed and Confused. It charts one long momentous night in the lives of a group of suburban 20-year-olds, for whom entertainment consists mainly of booze, banter and arguments with the Pakistani proprietors of the convenience store where they habitually hang out, and examines the friends' reactions to the visit of a former schoolmate-turned-rock star. Allegiances shift, animosities erupt, violence rears its head, tragedy looms. While it's true that playwright Eric Bogosian's screenplay fails to avoid the kind of tidy twists and contrivances favoured by theatre, and that the reluctance to leave the street corner setting makes for a certain staginess, Linklater keeps matters engrossing, partly through the strong performances he elicits, partly through his firm grasp of the rhythms, colours and moods of suburban existence. Crucially, no character is quite as he or she first appears, nor is the film's attitude towards the kids simplistically sympathetic or condemnatory.
Cast and crew