Dazed and Confused is a coming of age film, centring around various groups of Texas teens during the last day of school in 1976.
Dazed and Confused has gained an iconic place in film history, it is one of the defining coming of age films alongside other genre greats like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and, American Pie.
The reason for this is because Linklater creates an instantly memorable film, not only memorable but, one that anyone can relate to. The things that the teenagers do in this film are things that everyone has done at one point in their lives. The themes of questioning your place in the world and, the path that has been set for you; and the need to fit in are universal.
The film is shot in a documentary esque way, which is a signature of Linklater, you feel as though you’re really there with them, one of the gang. In keeping with this, Dazed and Confused really paints a picture of what 1970’s small-town America is like; glamorised obviously, it still feels like capturing a moment in history.
The performances are all also first-rate, Jason London as Randall Floyd, perfectly encapsulates a 1970’s teen; though his performance captures teenagers of all generations on the cusp of growing up and becoming a man; having to find a place in the world. What’s more Ben Affleck shines as detestable school bully, Fred O’ Bannion, a character that the film goes out of its way to make the villain showing how he is responsible for most of the younger characters misery. Though you do feel a sense of sympathy for him in the later stages of the film, as you realise that he was kept behind a year; and is the butt of a lot of jokes as a result.
This is also the film that gave us the lines, “alright, alright alright”, and “the thing I love about High School girls”, the latter of these is deeply problematic in a 2019 context. McConaughey’s character in the film is of a loser who can’t seem to move past being the cool guy in High School, he is easily the most interesting character in the whole film, mainly due to McConaughey’s fantastic performance.
Ultimately this film is a masterpiece, it perfectly sums up the teenage experience; as a result, it has become iconic. The performances are all fantastic, to the point where you forget they are actors, and instead, view them as the teens they are playing. I think it is pretty safe to say that anyone who watches this film will find something to relate to in it; a little part of themselves. This film is truly deserving of all the acclaim it has gotten in recent years and stands as one of the all-time cinema greats.
Reviewed by Luke