Slacker is unlike any independent film I have ever seen. There is no main plot, no main characters, and no conflict to speak of. It takes you around the city of Austin (via some really sweet tracking shots) and weaves in and out of random people’s lives, giving you small vignettes and snatches of conversations. The movie never pauses for long and takes you on a quirky, meandering ride.
Most of the characters are cynical, self-aware, mid-twenties artists/bohemians who constantly spout off conspiracy theories, philosophy, political arguments and other random things. Some of it is poignant and some of it is pure hot air and it’s up to the viewer to decide which is which. Slacker inspired a lot of independent film makers in the 1990’s, most notably Kevin Smith, who used it as inspiration for his first film, Clerks.
When I first started watching the film, I found the acting style somewhat off-putting, but as the film progressed I realized that it was because it was so unpretentious and natural. The characters converse just like real life and it was refreshing to see the actual rhythm unfold of two people interacting and exchanging ideas. Slacker seamlessly transitions from scene to scene (in some very clever ways), which makes the movie engaging and interesting. It’s essentially a cross section of the youth in the 1990’s but they have eerily similar problems and fears to modern young adults. There is a distinct “indie” look to the filming that is considered cliché now but was cutting edge when this film came out.
I can see how some people might not enjoy Slacker because it doesn’t really have a majestic theme or purpose. If indie films aren’t usually your cup of tea, this film isn’t going to magically change your mind. However, if you can relax and enjoy a slow movie about nothing and everything in particular, you will rewarded with some interesting notions to ponder and maybe figure out a little about yourself in the process.
-Review by Michelle Kisner