TAPE (2001) USA

For a film that takes place all in real time, “tape” is very much about time. On the surface it  plays out like an old suspenseful episode of the Twilight Zone. But like the twilight zone, it caries so much more depth.

The brief synopsis. Vince comes back to his hometown to attend his high school friend, Jon’s – a documentary film director – film premier. Which is being shown at the city’s film festival. They meet up after not seeing each other for five years in Vince’s motel room. Over the course of the rekindling, Vince manipulates Jon to confess to raping a their mutual high school friend, Amy, during the night of graduation. Unknown to Jon, Vince has been recording their whole conversation on tape

Vince also planed for Amy to arrive to the motel room later on that night, and use the tape as blackmail, so that Jon can come clean and make amends. However when Amy arrives she is on to Vince, and has planes of her own, playing both boys about the events of that night, as to what happen or didn’t happen.

There is always three – and in this case, four – versions of the truth. Mine, yours, and reality. Every person has their own perception, and in this case one with assumptions put together with false memories of that night. Memories also change over time. In fact, every time you remember something you are remembering the last time you remembered it. Memories are, distorted. Which is one of the reasons why this film is one tape. Not only is it to represent the physical tape itself, and a nod to the fact that Jon is a documentary filmmaker, but because tape, unlike film distorts the image, a tiny bit – like the “truth” of that night. Did he? Didn’t he? We will never know. Unless it was on tape, and even that isn’t all truthful.


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