Dazed and Confused (1993) 4.14/5 (1)
4.14/51

 

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Rating: The Good – 90.6
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Duration: 102 mins
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey

With Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater gave us perhaps the most original and entertaining rites-of-passage film. Set in 1976, the film follows a group of high school kids on their last day of school before the summer break as the incoming seniors hunt down and haze the incoming freshmen. This is a film that seduces its audience by channeling a spirit of youth that we all can and want to identify with. It captures a very particular notion of freedom and anticipation that from an adult’s perspective seems to be something we will only ever get to appreciate again in retrospect. Dazed and Confused is also the best demonstration of Linklater’s unique package of talents: his easy-listening brand of dialogue; his ability to skew archetypal characters a couple of degrees either way and make them interesting again; his ability to establish believable relationships between them; and lastly the unobtrusive yet intimate manner in which he frames every shot.

Dazed and Confused is one of those precious few films which creates an unmistakable sense of time and place through a combination of era-specific music, some clever photography, and some witty but well sourced costume and production design. However, it’s the sound of the film which is most memorable as the source music would make Scorsese or Tarantino proud (the latter of which, you might be interested to know lists this as one of his favourite films) and it provides the primary fuel for Linklater’s time machine. The performances are too many to fully note here but Sasha Jenson’s quirky Dawson, Rory Cochrane as the uber stoner Slater, and Matthew McConaughey’s creepy yet ridiculous Wooderson deserve a special mention. Dazed and Confused is a landmark movie where all the pieces fit so well together that it effortlessly resonates with you. Whether you grew up in that era or not, it’ll ensconce you in a warm sense of nostalgia and you’ll be forever going back for more.

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