“Slipstream,” review by Susan Granger

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Considering that the dictionary defines slip stream as “the current of air thrust backward by the spinning propeller or an aircraft,” Anthony Hopkins has creatively transposed this aeronautical concept into an avante-garde, admittedly experimental, absurdist through-the-looking-glass glimpse of behind-the-scenes movie-making.

Evolving in a non-linear fantasy is the convoluted tale of a clearly unstable Hollywood screenwriter Felix Bonhoeffler (Anthony Hopkins), who is working on a murder mystery that’s being filmed in the California desert. Whirling in and out of his conscious and sub-conscious mind are his wife, Gina (played by Hopkins’ real-life wife, Stella Arroyave, making her screen debut); an aspiring blonde actress (Lisa Pepper); loquacious Aunt Bette (Fionnula Flanagan); a perplexed, baby-toting film director (Gavin Grazer); caustic cinematographer (Chris Lawford); obnoxious producer named Harvey Brickman (John Turturro); several long-suffering, somewhat maniacal actors (Christian Slater, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Clarke Duncan, Camryn Manheim, S. Epatha Merkerson) and – miracle of miracles! – 93 year-old Kevin McCarthy recalling “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”). There’s also an amusing Dolly Parton look-alike (Charlene Rose), talking buzzard and furry tarantula.

Structurally reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s non-linear, dream-like “Memento” with a dab of David Lynch thrown in, it’s written and directed by Anthony Hopkins (Oscar-winner for “The Silence of the Lambs”), who also composed the musical score. Working with cinematographer Dante Spinotti and film editor Michael E. Miller, Hopkins utilizes a visual cacophony of rapid cuts, old movie clips, stock footage and color film stock changes, often punctuated with seemingly random, out-of-context sound bites.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Slipstream” is a stream-of-consciousness, playfully surreal, satirical 7. As Hopkins notes, it’s the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – and be sure to stay for the somewhat explanatory epilogue that occurs after the credits.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.