Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused ★★★★★

"Behind every good man there is a woman, and that woman was Martha Washington, man, and everyday George would come home, she would have a big fat bowl waiting for him, man, when he come in the door, man, she was a hip, hip, hip lady, man." - Slater

The most beautiful thing about Dazed and Confused is that it's a film compiled of moments. Some are significant, some are insignificant, and it never gets more dramatic than a brief drunken brawl or a slow-motion routine 'paddling' of the backside. There's no overarching plot, there's no particular conflict or strife; just a bunch of everybodys enjoying the moment, before another more significant moment comes along.

Just like the closing 10 minutes of Richard Linklater's latest masterpiece, Boyhood, it concerns a bunch of people on the verge of adulthood, about to tip over the precipice and onto the open road of the future. If there's a protagonist in Dazed and Confused, then it has to be Jason London's Randall 'Pink' Floyd, who is split between telling a lie and telling the truth, and tipping his life either side all over a petty matter of principle. Linklater captures the overblown melodrama of youth perfectly, making many mountains out of many molehills as his extensive cast try to have a good time, but the future just keeps on wrapping incessantly at the door.

Linklater addresses the banal and the pertinent in equal measure, and levels up the drama to each character's appropriate level of susceptibility. Rory Cochrane's Ron Slater couldn't be more chilled about life (both the future and the past; his ramblings about George Washington are telling), but Adam Goldberg's neurotic Mike Newhouse is a fretting and verbose wreck about who he is, who people see him as and who he is going to be (either a dancer or a lawyer...WHO KNOWS?). Like the mountains and the molehills, there are many coins with many sides to Linklater's ensemble, and it's a giddy delight to see everyone cross paths, however fleeting.

If Dazed and Confused hadn't clicked fully with me in the past, it most certainly has now. Perhaps I watched it at the right time. I have my A Level results. I'm off to university. I'm about to lessen my bonds with long-established friends and form new circles. It's a scary thought, but Dazed and Confused makes you love every moment while you still have it in front of you.

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