Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. 88
    The writing, acting and direction are so convincing that at some point I stopped thinking about the constraints and started thinking about the movie's freedoms.
  2. A super-taut and superbly acted three-character piece.
  3. Tape may not be a great movie, but it's a great demonstration of creativity within severe limitations.
  4. An entertaining, post-modern mulling of the nature of truth, and whether truth is ever so fixed that it can be captured on tape.
  5. 63
    For all of Linklater's acrobatic camera moves, you never quite escape the feeling you're watching a barely adapted TV version of a somewhat gimmicky stage play.
  6. 50
    Despite its adrenalized actors, Tape is a tired return to the roots of the American indie movement's popular surge a dozen years ago. It could have been called "sex, lies and audiotape."
  7. 60
    The action is confined to a single set and atmosphere is appropriately claustrophobic, but the image quality is harsh and flat. This accentuates the oppressive meanness of Vince's hotel room, but makes for some unpleasant viewing.
  8. Reviewed by: Anthony Miele
    60
    Overall, Tape is an interestingly staged play that, with the proper actors could have made a great film, instead of an adequate one.
  9. 89
    This is what great dialogue -- and by extension great movies -- is made of.
  10. Linklater has hardly been a slacker this year. I'll take the tricky confrontational babble of Tape over some of the gauzier soliloquies in ''Waking Life,'' but either way, he's a filmmaker in love with the music of talk, and let's bless him for that.
  11. 58
    The best thing about the film is the acting of the guys.
  12. Linklater must have recognized a kindred spirit when he read Belber's play. He's given us a reality-fantasy game, a psychodrama, a harangue, and a detective story all rolled into one.
  13. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    90
    Emphasis on its combustible emotions, suspense and surprising humor should help draw sophisticated audiences who, once lured, will quickly find themselves hooked for the duration.
  14. 80
    The movie takes shape as an entertaining psychological armwrestle between rank belligerence and blustery condescension.
  15. In portraying this threesome, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman give the most psychologically acute performances of their film careers.
  16. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    No wonder Hawke was so hot to pass the script onto Linklater. He's superb, by the way.
  17. None of the characters emerges as very sympathetic.
  18. For three jerks bitching in a box, Tape makes the most of its minimalism. At its best, it's Betrayal for the Breakfast Club set.
  19. 40
    A tedious exercise in ethical hand wringing.
  20. 20
    A typical student film with its arty angles, bad lighting and pretentious observations.
  21. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    Smart, unpredictable, and alive with the energies of actors who clearly are enjoying being stretched by their material.
  22. Linklater keeps it lively with imaginative camerawork and razor-sharp editing.
  23. Hawke is the movie's revelation.
  24. Unfortunately can't transcend its theatrical roots and the actors, good as they are, seem like they're grandstanding.
  25. The smart but slight film implodes under the weight of its own "excessive linguistic pressure."

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