Celebrated American independent filmmaker Richard Linklater (“School of Rock” & “Tape”) relives past glories with a little help from performer turned screenwriter Kim Krizan and his two leads for this curious sequel which premiered at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
American abroad Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets French environmentalist Céline (Julie Delpy) on a book signing tour and persuades her to join him for an afternoon exploring Paris some nine years after thir first encounter to randomly ramble about both geographically and conversationally until their seemingly doomed love slowly turns into an initial attraction.
Troubled star Ethan Hawke (“Tape” & “Training Day”) draws on his own break-up with Uma Thurman for the most powerful in a long series of collaborations with the director while long-term sparring partner Julie Delpy (“Waking Life” & “Investigating Sex”) sing-a-long for a more personal story which the two helped co-write.
The largely Paris based supporting cast consisting of Vernon Dobtcheff, Louise Lemoine Torres, Rodolphe Pauly, Diabolo and a brief cameos from Julie Delpy’s parents Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet is once given little more to do than provide a bit of exotic local colour and some grist for the seemingly never stopping mill of the leads’ conversation.
The self-taught director picks up some nine years after the last film left-off to great effect as the maturity now afforded the two lead characters gives them a new found maturity which moves their duologue beyond the sophomoric intellectual masturbation of their last appearance in “Waking Life” to the more mature level of “pick a finger”.
Perhaps not as brave a piece of filmmaking as the original outing it nonetheless continues the director’s patented barrage of ideas through hyper-realistic conversation in a far truer frame which overcomes the previous films failings by truly opening its performers up for engagement and maybe even more importantly clocking out at a far more acceptable 77 minutes.
“Memory is a wonderful thing if you don’t have to deal with the past.”