Dazed And Confused

1993, Movie, R, 97 mins

Review

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Director Richard Linklater's follow-up to the 1991 surprise independent hit SLACKER, this is an affectionate but unsentimental recreation of suburban teen culture in the rock- and pot-drenched 70s.

The film follows an ensemble of more than 20 characters through their last day and night of high school in 1976. The kids separate into cliques of familiar character types--jocks and nerds, senior bullies and freshmen weaklings, potheads and eggheads, the cool and the uncool. As quarterback of the high school football team, Randy "Pink" Floyd (Jason London) must decide whether to sign the coach's pledge to remain drug-free or to continue to indulge with his friends; meanwhile, freshman Mitch (Wiley Wiggins) spends the day fleeing from paddle-wielding, abusive hazers while trying to hang with the older gang of cool kids and the girls who find him cute. All parties convene at a huge beer bust in the woods, where fights erupt, romances are consummated, and dazed visions of "what comes next" are hashed out.

A much-praised portrait of 70s youth, DAZED AND CONFUSED expertly captures the details and textures of the time without condescending or lapsing into cheap-shot parody. A classic rock score (Aerosmith, Black Oak Arkansas, Foghat, and other quintessential AOR sounds) combines with smooth camerawork and editing to help create a seamless succession of typical incidents and conversations. The youths so frankly portrayed here lead lives of aimlessness, sloth, and apathy--understandably, given the banality of the choices available to them. Truly dazed and confused, Linklater's characters inhabit a moral universe so murky and enervated that Floyd's willingness to make a stand--any stand--emerges finally as something of a triumph. leave a comment

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