LOQUACITY IS Richard Linklater's metier: Regardless of how much or little action occurs in the course of his films, his characters talk incessantly, sometimes brilliantly, about what flumes up from their brainpans and how they perceive what goes on around them. Their emotional composition defines itself in the timing of cross talk, interruptions, witticisms, asperities, and perfunctory displays of affection. At times, they almost resemble real people, in films like Dazed and Confused (1993) and The School of Rock (2003)--zany people, equipped with one or two signature habits, tics, idiosyncracies.
It may not be all that limiting that Linklater's people seem generic, in many cases canned, like studio laughter. What comes out of their mouths is unpredictable, and their verbiage creates a particularity that enlarges them, belying the "type" their physicality and surface demeanor suggest. Linklater undermines the ostensible premises of his movies by applying a can opener to his characters' heads.
He is, unquestionably, the Dostoyevsky of movie dialogue, however flighty and paper-thin his interdigitating narratives appear to be. The repressed and unconscious yodel forth from caricatural druggies, deadbeats, quotidian "romantic couples," high school bullies, nerds, rapacious cheerleaders, authority figures, bourgeois parents, cops; even when they're uttering boilerplate banalities, there's something defective and unsettling in their delivery, tense evidence of a yawning abyss between what they articulate and what's really churning through their minds.
Sartre once noted that nobody is just a waiter. Linklater has embraced this indisputably true and, for some, uncomfortable realization. Everyone in his movies has something slightly more to say or exhibit than convention prepares us for, and flashes a premonitory twitch of being something …