Slacker (1990)


A single day of life in Austin, Texas.
I don’t know how to describe this film.


Language :  English

Director :  Richard Linklater.

Writers : Richard Linklater.

Cast : Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine.

Genre : Comedy | Drama

Imdb: Slacker (1990)

Streaming on Youtube.

A single day of life in Austin, Texas.

I don’t know how to describe this film. It’s a bit inexplicable as there is no protagonist or antagonist, there is no plot or story, there is nothing but 2 or 3 minutes of the life of random slackers, in other words someone who avoids work or obligations and lacks work ethics.

The movie shifts from one person to another within minutes and there are like 20-30 of them. The shifts of perspectives are fun to watch and very intriguing as the transitions occur at a time that’s appropriate and we are shown the life of some other person totally unrelated. It’s kinda brilliant! I’ve always wondered if one could make a movie without the  I’ve always wondered if one could make a movie without characters or plot or conflicts and Slacker is the answer to that very query.

Richard Linklater is a director whom I have never experienced but only known because of his Before Trilogy, Boyhood, A Scanner Darkly etcetera. And my first experience of his filmography is absolutely surprising! The best thing about Richard Linklater’s direction in this film is how he managed to picture the passage of time and change of personalities; we are shown one day of life in Texas coherently. The way he handled all the characters are very interesting as well and through them we are shown the culture of the place.

Richard Linklater’s screenplay is as smart as his direction, with no characters or plot it is very good at capturing attention. With the limited time he allocated to the multitude of characters, he has managed to convey diverse themes and messages and many perspectives as they differ from one to another. Some of the conversations are goofy and even still they’re good. The eclectic nature that can be found in the screenplay is definitely the main factor that makes it such a riveting film.

The camera work by Lee Daniel may not feel exceptional but it is very apt, so is the editing by Scott Rhodes. The simpleness there in the visuals due to the cinematography and the editing, set the mood and tone perfectly. Lee Daniel’s camera work is good considering how he managed to capture the suburb while making us focus on the characters. There is no soundtrack to elevate moments or drama, but it’s not a problem, the dialogues and noise from the streets do that just fine.

Slacker doesn’t give us a story or life of a person but it gives us feelings, opinions and perspectives of many. The experimental nature of the film in which the narrative shifts as one character walks away without any narrative structure or story is what makes it special. The conversations which convey the aforementioned offerings, not all but some, may feel acceptable or inappropriate depending on our views, some might even enlighten us.

But the point of the film is not what is said or conveyed in the film by these various personas, it is the life of slackers that is going on in the place. The movie makes us watch and listen to them and doesn’t get involved in their lives. And Slacker does not follow formulas or patterns, it is the epitome of individuality when it comes to cinemas.

Verdict – 5/7 stars



  • The movie that directly inspired Kevin Smith to become a filmmaker, which in turn inspired him to make Clerks (1994).

  • The average movie has 500-1,000 cuts in it. This one only has 163, and almost a third of them come from the last five minutes during the Super 8 film scene.

  • The bar scene was shot with a Fisher-Price PixelVision camcorder.

  • The woman who plays “Pap Smear Pusher”, also on the movie poster and video covers, is Teresa Taylor, who was a drummer for Butthole Surfers.

  • Only six lights were used to shoot this film.

  • Richard Linklater originally didn’t want to act in this film.

  • Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.


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Into Books, Comics, Games, Cinemas, Music, and Science. You can follow him on Instagram @xx.wrox.

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