Simon Ramshaw’s review published on Letterboxd:
"That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age." - Wooderson
You know you're in for an awesome film when a young Ben Affleck, playing the antagonist, rolls up in the girls' car from Death Proof. And this is exactly what Dazed and Confused is: awesome. Basically just a night of drinking, drug-taking and flirting with all the ups and downs of each activity, it's simple in its concept. Much like Linklater's later (heh) Before trilogy, it doesn't follow a plot or structure, it just is. It goes where it wants, it paces itself as it wants and it drives aimlessly through the night. And that's all of its charm. To slightly misquote the Soup Dragons, "It's free to do what it wants!"
The cast are all uniformly excellent. From the main characters, expertly played by Wiley Wiggins and Jason London, to the extended cameos, they're all immersed in their 1976 stereotypes. Matthew McConaughey reliably steals the show from the sidelines but just leaning against walls, smoking through his 'tache and occasionally saying "All right, all right, ALL RIGHT!" and Ben Affleck is marvellously evil from the very beginning. Surely one of the best acted teen movies ever made, Dazed and Confused is as much a performance-driven film as it is a dialogue-driven film.
Linklater's irreverent and naturalistic script is another marvel that he's churned out. Slowly becoming one of my favourite writers that I'd missed out on for quite some time, his script is sprawling yet controlled, with no loose ends dangling where there shouldn't be. It's a true labour of love, and as much a nostalgic throwback to his own early years as Almost Famous was to Cameron Crowe.
A true tale of freedom and victory for those who deserve it, Dazed and Confused could become a comfort film of mine in the future, be that near or far.
P.S. Misty sends her love to Mr. McConaughey...