By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
As a fan of the Austin director’s work, this documentary was a must-see for me and is certainly a must-see for all of his other fans. Writer/directors Michael Dunaway and Tara Wood have made a loving tribute to Linklater, the man mainly responsible for the resurgence of independent film in the 1990s. Dunaway and Wood take their audience on a film journey from 1990 through 2011 (not quite in chronological order), covering the films made by Linklater and the impact they had on his audiences, his cast members, and other filmmakers. In the film they have assembled and interviewed a large group of some of Linklater’s most ardent admirers–his cast members and collaborators.This documentary is chock-full of great stories from Matthew McConaughey, Keanu Reeves, Ethan Hawke, Billy Bob Thornton, Zac Efron, Julie Delpy, Parker Posey, Jack Black, and others who have worked closely with Linklater and know him quite well. The film is a fascinating and entertaining look at some of the great movies that have inspired other filmmakers like Kevin Smith, Jason Reitman, and the Duplass Brothers who have successfully made movies of their own. As much as I enjoyed the admiration bestowed on Linklater, I wish that the filmmakers had not glossed over some of the movies in his filmmography that didn’t do so well critically or financially. The films SubUrbia, Waking Life, and Tape are either barely acknowledged or not mentioned at all. It would have been much more insightful to get information on why some of his films didn’t work as well as others.
Still, I do highly recommend this highly lovable documentary that not only covers some of his filmography, but also takes the time to acknowledge his work in helping preserve and celebrate film through the Austin Film Society, an organization he co-founded with journalist Louis Black. This film not only helps his admirers honor the legacy of Richard Linklater, but could also serve to introduce him and his movies to the uninitiated.