SilentDawn’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ok, wait a second, let me pick my jaw up from the floor.
Dazed and Confused is another masterpiece from Richard Linklater, whose work has continued to impress. While this isn't as incredible as Boyhood, It's still one of the finest films made about both high-school and the never-ending twilight of youth.
The "story" is nothing. There is really no story. What we have here is a set of miniature character arcs that all take place within a single 24 hour period; the last day of school specifically. The seniors go and try to initiate the incoming freshman, they drink, they smoke weed, they party; and this is basically it. Yet, despite that, Dazed and Confused is monstrously entertaining. The typical Linklater dialogue is ever-present, bringing both pathos and charming humor to this experience. The characters are all unique, with plenty of young, up and coming stars playing their roles perfectly. Hell, Ben Affleck, Adam Goldberg, and Matthew Mcconaughey are all in this, and they're awesome.
The direction by Linklater is just as subdued and gorgeous as it usually is, with a documentary feel to it all. Yet, just with other Linklater pictures, he always adds some extra flair to knock you on your ass in amazement. One scene where three of our characters walk into a recreation room will have your mind reeling at the cinematic craft on display.
I love how aimless the film acts, even though it has a clear purpose to it all. The lives of the teenagers are aimless, but a hint of melancholy and disillusionment is always lurking. Many of the characters, especially Mcconaughey's, are tragic in a way. They realize that this is the best time that their lives will receive, so they try to live it up before its gone; shattered into oblivion.
Oh, and the soundtrack is perfection. PERFECTION.
Dazed and Confused is an utterly masterful evocation of a time and place, with Richard Linklater bringing us a mosaic of fascinating and deeply layered characters with mesmerizing respective arcs. I'm still kicking myself that I haven't seen this sooner.