Early on, a character describes the flux between time and space as an occurrence of our current and past lives rushing together. In “Slipstream,” screenwriter Felix Bonhoffer experiences this slide in reality as his seemingly stable world escalates into chaos.
Anthony Hopkins, in his debut as screenwriter/director, does not disappoint. As one would expect from the man who made Hannibal Lecter a cultural icon, “Slipstream” is a properly bizarre journey. Hopkins employs an overabundance of noise and images, utilizing quick cuts that operate like psychological breaks. Genres blend, characters shift, and the fiction of Bonhoffer’s work blurs with his actual existence. In this increasingly nightmarish world, what is real?
What is fun about the movie is that Hopkins doesn’t necessarily care about answering this question. Everything is conflated—personal experiences, media footage, literary conventions—in such a way that the effect is impressionistic, intended to evoke emotion. Things are tied together loosely, playfully, like a brain that’s misfiring yet still trying to find a narrative arch. What is also fun is the extensive cast the director enlists. In addition to Hopkins, the film stars John Turturro, Christian Slater, Camryn Manheim, and Jeffrey Tambor, as well as other notables. The actors—especially Turturro and Slater– take full advantage of the dreamlike quality of the film and attack their roles with maniacal glee.
The film isn’t weird just for the sake of being weird. It is a carefully orchestrated madness that has its own logic. This is not a movie for those who need linear plots and clear answers; however, if you are open to unconventional filmmaking and ambiguous endings, this is definitely one to check out. The resolution ties up enough loose ends to be satisfying, yet makes you think long after you’ve left the theater.