In the same year that filmmaker Richard Linklater explored the possibilities of image manipulation in digital filmmaking with Waking Life, he also embraced the new medium's potential for creating intimate character portraits under confined circumstances with this feature, based on the play by Stephen Belber. Johnny (Robert Sean Leonard) is a 30-year-old filmmaker who is enjoying a recent run of success and has returned to his old hometown of Lansing, MI, to show his latest project at a film festival. While in town, Johnny pays a visit to Vince (Ethan Hawke), an old friend from high school who is staying in a nearby hotel. Vince has never had a knack for responsibility and these days scrapes together a living as a low-level drug dealer. Johnny and Vince discuss their lives, with Johnny more than a bit judgmental about Vince's current situation, when the conversation turns to Amy (Uma Thurman), a girl who was Vince's girlfriend through much of high school and who Johnny dated for a brief spell afterward. Johnny confesses that he hasn't thought about Amy in ages, but Vince informs him that she's living nearby, then begins firing a series of increasingly pointed questions at him about his relationship with Amy, concluding with the shocking accusation that Johnny once raped Amy at a party. Like Waking Life, Tape was entirely shot using digital video equipment, and director Linklater remained true to the story's origins as a stage play, using only three actors and one set for the entire film. Both Tape and Waking Life premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis