Richard Linklater is known for his outsider appeal and his unusual filmmaking approaches. He got his start with ‘Slacker,’ a mostly improvised look at the random characters surrounding his hometown of Austin, Texas. He then teamed up with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for ‘Before Sunrise,’ a soon to be arthouse franchise which found the filmmaker and actors revisiting the star-crossed characters two more times – ‘Before Sunset,’ and ‘Before Midnight’ – each ten years apart. He used unusual animation techniques for both ‘Waking Life’ and an adaptation of ‘A Scanner Darkly’ and even tried the hand held camcorder routine for the drama ‘Tape.’ Now he’s doing something wholly unusual, an experiment in narrative that rivals Michael Apted and the terrific ‘Up’ documentary series from Britain (’14 Up,’ ’21 Up,’ ’28 Up,’ etc.).
Indeed, this new film has been 12 years in the making. ‘Boyhood’ will focus on one child, his disintegrating family, and the meaningful moments in his life over the span of more than a decade – and it’s all being filmed in real time. Put another way, Linklater hired Hawke and Patricia Arquette (as the parents) and then assigned young Eller Salmon the difficult task of playing the lead in this unusual experiment. Speaking to the Huffington Post (as reported by SlashFilm.com), the ‘Purge’ star said that ‘Boyhood’ is “the most truly original, revolutionary thing I’ve ever been a part of.” According to reports, Linklater has basically shot a short film every year for the last 11, and with a few more scenes to complete, he hopes to have something edited together and ready for the festival circuit by next year.
It all sounds so intriguing, especially when you read this additional quote from Hawke, “(‘Boyhood’) is about growing up and the little moments that define our identity that aren’t about your bar mitzvah or your first time you had sex. There are these signposts that are supposed to be meaningful — prom, or something — that aren’t really meaningful. The movie is going to be — I don’t know what people are going to make out of it — but I do know it’s the damned most original thing I’ve ever been a part of.” Considering that Linklater is one of our more misunderstood and novel film voices, this is quickly shaping up to be a must-see title for 2014. Just to see all three of these performers age before our eyes without the benefit of make-up of F/X will be worth the price of admission alone.