Richard Linklater is an American filmmaker based out of Austin, Texas. He is, along with Steven Soderbergh
and Kevin Smith
, considered one of the most important figures in American Independent Film. His career began with Slacker
, a very low-budget ensemble film about twenty-something misfits in Austin. The film was met with critical acclaim, and Kevin Smith
says it was what inspired him to make Clerks
. His second film, Dazed and Confused
is a cult classic and equally acclaimed. From there, his career is, to say the least, eclectic. He's done two experimental animated films (Waking Life
and A Scanner Darkly
), studio comedies (School of Rock
, Bad News Bears
), smaller Indie movies (Fast Food Nation
, Before Sunrise
and Before Sunset
), and an ambitious project called Boyhood
, which is being filmed over a period of over 10 years, detailing one young man's childhood from elementary school to high school graduation, with each grade's story being written and shot over a few weeks each year until the project is completed.
Common tropes in his movies:
- Acclaimed Flop: With the exception of School of Rock, nearly all his films’ financial successes range from mediocre to outright bombs. Despite this, they’re almost always praised by critics and audiences.
- Author Tract: One of the complaints he got for Fast Food Nation was changing the theme of the book from a critique of the fast food industry to one long tract against eating meat.
- Breakthrough Hit: For cinephiles, Dazed and Confused. For mainstream audiences, School of Rock.
- Career Resurrection: After Fast Food Nation both bombed and got flak for changing the message of the book, and Me and Orson Welles was barely released, Bernie received critical acclaim and Before Midnight was named the A.V. Club’s best film of 2013 and got nominated for an Oscar.
- Creator Provincialism: He’s from Texas, and a good chunk of his movies are either set or shot there.
- Everything Is Big in Texas: Averted. Since he's born, raised and currently lives in Texas, he presents a very realistic look at the state.
- The Film of the Book: The Newton Boys, A Scanner Darkly, Fast Food Nation and Me and Orson Wells. Bernie is a subversion as it was based off a series of newspaper columns.
- Granola Guy: He's vegetarian.
- The Oner
- Prima Donna Director: Averted. By all accounts, he's an easygoing, relaxed director who works with his actors to better their performances and characters.
- Production Posse: His films usually star Ethan Hawke or Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Adair will edit and Graham Reynolds will compose.
- Random Events Plot
- Rotoscoping: Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly use this.
- Scenery Porn
- Signature Style: Characters having Seinfeldian Conversations and movies with timeframes that usually span about 24 hours.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: A lot of his films have them.