A film that is plotless and based on pure conversations that are incoherent and yet so interesting. This is remarkable filming.
This film is an evocative reflection of an American Community based in Texas and it reflects it so aptly and in sync with the title Slacker. "Slacker" refers to a person who lacks work ethic or who avoids work. Most of the characters, just speak and there work is never shown. What they do, why they do that. All this is not mentioned for most characters. They just speak something. For most of the time, there dialogues actually mean nothing and may even some gibberish, unless you pay attention to the subtexts. Indeed, they have a profound meaning underground and they are interesting too. Just have the patience of paying attention and you will be rewarded.
Richard Linklater made remarkable films. From the "Before" trilogy to his most provocative and philosophical "Waking Life". I suppose so, that "Slacker" is indeed a prequel to "Waking Life" where conversations mean everything, characters are just real characters, who speak their mind, and there is no coherence to relate the whole film to a story. So those are the similarities of these two films and yet there are many differences too, which I better not discuss here.
Linklater's eye for detail and understanding nuances of a whole community and capturing them as if they are all impromptu is indeed wonderful. This sets the film apart and the structure is rather stunning and yet so simple, indeed, the structure is just a flow of characters. One character leaves and other picks it up and sometimes the new character was part of the previous frame or scene too. So the structure could have been new in 1991 for many, but such structure came in 1929 with "Man with a Movie Camera". Now, what's outstanding though is the dialogue. Linklater has a gift for provoking thoughts with his dialogues and this perhaps is his earliest instance where he showcased in talent in full flow.
This was made on a shoe-string budget of $23000 (courtesy : Wikipedia). Considering that, this is made wonderfully. Also, this film was shot on a span of few days only in Austin, Texas. So, this is a wonderful attempt in Independent films and it has raised the bar for writing and dialogue. The production values are not great but manageable. The editing is superb and the cinematography fine. Other aspects of acting are just apt. So all in all technically it was a great attempt with the budget it had.
I liked this film but this cannot be visited multiple times as the dialogues are interesting but are limiting with the characters. Thus, I am going with a 3/5 as a good film, even a wonderful film in some. But not above my favorite "Waking Life"