In the opening sequences of “Slipstream,” first time writer/director Anthony Hopkins lets us know were 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 whats going on, of questioning what the hell hes 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. Shes talking about something that someone else said to her–so the clue is twice removed, and were 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 ones 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, whos also accomplished as painter and composer, uses his unique skill sets to create Slipstreams exquisite visual style and unusually stylized rhythmic flow. He also composed the films score.
Even without Hopkins linear lead, we reach the understanding, in the end, that the seemingly disjointed bits of information were given add up to a compelling story–but its one thats 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.