“Slipstream,” review by Jennifer Merin

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In the opening sequences of “Slipstream,” first time writer/director Anthony Hopkins lets us know we’re in for an interesting ride. With quick cuts and stutter edits, he dislodges us from our habitual linear thinking and sets us onto a path of curiosity, of wondering what’s going on, of questioning what the hell he’s getting at.

He also provides us with a clue when one of his characters, the fictitious actress Bette Lustig (Finnoula Flanagan), comments that the slipstream is the path of past life regressions–or something like that. She’s talking about something that someone else said to her–so the clue is twice removed, and we’re free to apply it–or not–as the film progresses.

Either way, what Hopkins reveals to us is his unique and brilliant moving image stream of consciousness, the cinematic representation of the dream like state one reaches when the important moments of one’s life flash fast forward during an incident of crisis.

The film does have a plot or, perhaps more aptly, a story structure–which involves auto accidents and near misses, road rage, mishaps and happenstance on a loco desert-located movie shoot of a murder mystery scripted by fictitious writer Felix Bonhoeffler (Anthony Hopkins), a respected but withering Hollywood persona. Moment by moment, we piece together players’ interactions and odd relationships, and their sometimes absurd behavior.

Hopkins has assembled a fabulous ensemble: Stella Arroyave (Hopkins’ real life wife, who also produced the film), Christian Slater, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Clarke Duncan, Camryn Manheim, S. Epatha Merkerson, John Turturro, Gavin Grazer, Chris Lawford and Kevin McCarthy (who, at age 93, plays himself, and appears in film clips from the 1956 version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” as his younger self ).

Hopkins, who’s also accomplished as painter and composer, uses his unique skill sets to create “Slipstream’s” exquisite visual style and unusually stylized rhythmic flow. He also composed the film’s score.

Even without Hopkins’ linear lead, we reach the understanding, in the end, that the seemingly disjointed bits of information we’re given add up to a compelling story–but it’s one that’s delivered through impressions and innuendo rather than by outright declaration.

And, the impressions stick. Like any truly fine work of art, “Slipstream” is a film that should become part of your consciousness.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).