“Slacker” (1991) is an independent film by director “Richard Linklater”. It's a character-based
fiction, structured with many individual scenes forming a feature film without an apparent narrative.
The film is portraying bits of everyday life of several eccentric people in Austin, Texas.
The film is built up in a way that every scene presents new characters, and after the scene is over
you will never see the same characters again. The camera floats from scene to scene by following
different characters from one location to another.
Like normal three-act-structure'd films, “Slacker” has no protagonist to lead a plot line. It's
therefore no plot to connect the scenes to each other, creating many individual scenes with their
The scenes are linked together to a full-length film, not by a plot, but by physically travelling with
the camera around the city.
In comparison to normal three-act-structured films, I think there's many similarities and many
differences to “Slacker”
Most of the scenes in “Slacker”, like in normal structure'd films, establishes flaws and inner
conflicts in the characters, but offer no solution or resolution to their problems, but rather drift on to
another place with other characters.
Many of the scenes are built up by very few cuts, or even one-takes. I think this is a way of
enhancing the slow, everyday feeling I think the film is trying to describe.
I often feel like cuts are'nt being used to show new emotions, but often more to drive the film in
other physical directions.
And In regular character-based films, close-ups are used to get the audience involved in what's
going on in the protagonist's head. I can't remember seeing any clos-ups throughout “Slacker”. I
think this is a choice to keep us distanced from the character's we are introduced to.
In the opening scene we see Linklater himself sitting in a cab
on his way home. He is constantly talking to the driver about
his thoughts of alternate realities. “It's like every decision
you make... the thing you choose not to do, fractions off and
becomes its own reality, you know...”
This scene is held in only one shot of both Linklater's
character and the cabdriver. Linklater is continuously talking about one subject throughout the
drive. And because the scene is never cut to a close-up or escalates through editing, I feel like we
are never introduced to something within the character, unlike films with a more apparent narrative.
In a conventional three-act-structure'd film, the
scenes are often built up differently.
I have chosen a scene from George Clooney's
“The Ides of March (2011)”.
The editing pattern of this scene is rather
common. It starts of with an establishing shot of
the characters in the scene. In this case, this shot is held until the conversation starts being personal.
As the scene escalates and intensifies the scene is cut into ultra close-ups of both the characters. In