Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Were I fortunate enough to meet the great Sir Anthony Hopkins I would first thank him for the amazing body of work this majestic gentlemen has presented on both stage and screen and then I would apologize to the elder statesmen for having the nerve to trash his film, of which he was the director, ‘Slipstream’. What in the hell was this? Now I could lie and pretend like I understood what was going on in this incredibly confusing, jumbled mess of a movie and say something along the lines of ‘I enjoyed how Hopkins approached the metaphysical and combined it with the ethereal yet somehow how integrated it with the physical’. And you know who you are who do just that sort of thing. I, on the other hand, just don’t have it in me to piss on your back and try to convince you that it’s rain – Josey Wales reference there, perhaps a film more in tune to my metaphysicality – no sir, this was an unwatchable mess. But I should mention that throughout the film certain characters pretty much said the same thing.

The biggest challenge of ‘Slipstream’, even more so than actually watching it, is attempting to describe what it’s about. From what I could tell Hopkins plays a man named Felix Bonhoffer who it appears is a Hollywood screenwriter, although we don’t learn this fact until much later in the film. The film starts and stops in sudden jumps with quick cuts and flashes and in between this, somewhere there is a story being told. Bonhoffer is driving in a car with his lady friend where they sit in a traffic jam and witness some dude in a rage shooting up people. Bonhoffer, despite the fact that a bullet goes through his windshield, is completely nonplussed while his lady friend sleeps the entire event away.

Later Bonhoffer meets in a bar with some guy named Ray (Christian Slater), the nature of their meeting is uncertain but their presence has the bar owner (Michael

Clark Duncan) mightily concerned, as he should be since Ray eventually puts a bullet in his head. Bonhoffer then will leave the bar and make nice with the barmaid Gina (Stella Arroyave – Mrs. Anthony Hopkins) for whatever reason.

The scenery then jumps to Ray, who I guess is a mobster, and his mentally challenged associate Geek (Jeffrey Tambor) who stop in at a diner and harass the patrons, some of whom we’ve seen earlier in different roles, but in particular they seem to be giving the waitress Bonnie (S. Epatha Merkeson) a hard time. For whatever reason. So after a lengthy bout with this particular thread, we find out that we’re on a movie set and all sorts of other stuff happens which will lead us to Bonhoffer driving his car down a freeway talking to old time actor Kevin McCarthy. This is relevant somehow because earlier in the film ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ was a topic of discussion. So now an ancient K-Mac talks to Felix about stuff we couldn’t possibly begin to understand or much less care about which will lead to another set of nonsensical scenes, ultimately turning us towards what I guess is reality. I guess. You’d have to ask Sir Anthony Hopkins about that.

Now there are those out there who claim to ‘get it’. I’ve even ran across individuals who went so far as to call those who didn’t understand ‘Slipstream’ pinheads. I’m touching the top of my head right now and looks like my pin on my head has just pricked my finger. But I think I’m going to have to challenge those who think they ‘get’ this movie because I’m pretty certain that Anthony Hopkins didn’t mean for you to ‘get’ his movie. I saw every single painful frame of this movie and on more than one occasion, including Felix Bonhoffer himself, characters within the film called this story that they inhabiting ‘boring’, ‘silly’, ‘nonsense’. It seems fairly clear to me that Hopkins is telling you outright that this movie is a mess, makes no sense, and it is done by design. There’s almost nothing in this film makes any kind of tangible sense. In the first five minutes with the jumps, rewinds flashes, and Max Headroom stutters I’m thinking to myself ‘I hope this doesn’t last for the whole movie.’ So much for hoping.

Obviously Anthony Hopkins is far too talented, gifted and wise to have accidentally made a crap movie, so if I’m saying it’s a crap film, then he wanted to make a crap film. This is a movie that was made to get certain self-important individuals to speak on ‘what it means’, and ‘how they understand’ and say stupid stuff like it’s ‘a mixing of spiritual genres’ when the movie clearly states within the narrative that it’s nothing of the sort.

So take this as a favor from Christopher to you, Mr. and Mrs. Self-important deep thinking intellectual, don’t take the bait. I may be a pinhead, but I can smell a con a mile away. Save yourself the embarrassment and don’t feel bad admitting that you didn’t ‘get’ this movie and when you’re at a cheese and wine party with your elbow patched, pipe smoking uptown mates, and one of them starts speaking of the ‘spiritual duality and ethereal existential realities’ of the film ‘Slipstream’, don’t call them out, but laugh on the inside knowing that unlike them, you weren’t suckered into being made a fool of, like Anthony Hopkins has just a made a fool of them.

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