starring Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine, and a whole bunch of people
written and directed by Richard Linklater
by Jefferson Robbins Before it became a lazily-applied shorthand for my generation in particular, Slacker was a film about doom. It's pervasive throughout this seemingly casual, meticulously-constructed, 24-hour baton-pass through bohemian Austin, Texas, in which characters confront intimations of death, their own or that of the species in general, and respond with rhetoric, bemusement, a fatalistic shrug, or a joyride. Writer-director Richard Linklater awakens from vivid dreams on a bus in the opening scene, then unspools his vision to a Buddha-silent cabdriver (Rudy Basquez). His most memorable dreams, he reports, often feature sudden death: "There's always someone gettin' run over or something really weird." Fair enough to wonder if we're not dreaming along with him, in some dress rehearsal for Waking Life, when he quickly happens upon a mother (Jean Caffeine) sprawled in a residential Austin boulevard, freshly driven over by her disturbed son (Mark James).