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Slipstream (1989) - Plot Summary Poster

(1989)

Plot

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Summaries

  • In the near future, where Earth has been devastated by natural disasters, and giant winds rule the planet, bounty hunter Matt kidnaps a murderer out of the hands of two police officers, planning to get the bounty himself. These in turn try to hunt the two men down.

  • In the future, natural disasters (earthquakes, floods) have ravaged Earth, leaving a world where pockets of communities live within canyons while a violent wind known as the "slipsteam" is the only means of transport, via airplanes. Matt Owens is a nomadic adventurer who kidnaps a prisoner ("Byron") of two violent law officers so he can claim the bounty for himself. Traveling across the wind swept landscape, Matt and Byron are relentlessly pursued by the officers, and Matt finds Byron isn't what he appears to be, as they travel from community to community and encounter pockets of strange societies that live beyond the slipstream.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • A barren Earth, with rocky dry hills and a slow narrow stream of water. A female narrator voice-over says that pollution has destroyed the surface of the planet, and that the huge wind stream now rule it: the most dangerous situation is called Slipstream- it's like a river of wind. In that scenery, an airplane with a square tail is flying after Byron (Bob Peck). Soon, William "Will" Tasker (Mark Hamill) and Belitski (Kitty Aldridge) capture him. He says the renown sentences: "It's over. End of the hunt.", and makes a comment saying that Byron thought that the winds would help him. Byron says that he's heard god's voice. The two police officers take him to the small Western-like town which they are the police force of. People at the local diner wonder why Byron is so important, why there is such a big reward on his head, and even whether the charges are true at all - Byron is supposed to have killed a man. Some other people say that he's a prophet. The local canteen is a rough place. Everybody is dressed like rough cowboys, except for Byron, who dresses like a British gentleman. Petros (Alkis Kritikos) is the dirty cook there, and Abigail (Susan Leong) is the local waitress, and also the girlfriend of one of the town's rebels. Belitsky tells Matt Owens (Bill Paxton), a bounty hunter posing as a merchant, that he is scum. Belitsky and Tasker behave like they own the place, and a woman who is doing labour for life (Diana Defries) talks like a hard woman.

    Matt appears out of nowhere wanting to get the reward. At first Belitski and Tasker don't take him seriously, and they talk to him demissively trying to distract him. Tasker shoots a dart and he hits Matt, and tells him that it's got poison, but Matt doesn't seem to believe him. There is another diversion - a small plane crashing on them - allows Owens to take Byron away with him. On the plane, Byron doesn't talk at all while Matt feels all right and worries about Byron creating trouble, as he prefers to produce him alive.

    Byron says that he knows he must be punished, although he doesn't clearly state that he had killed anyone. Owens talks about Byron's ideas. Byron says that humanity has lost the battle against nature, but that there is time to re-conquer the planet. Owens is a very capable pilot, and he flies through sharp mountain ranges รก la Star Wars until he reaches a town whose houses have been carved on the hill rock. Byron is able to uncuff himself. He gives the handcuffs to Owens. Byron tells him that Matt will realise pretty soon that he can trust him. The name of the town is Hell's Kitchen.

    Several people are having a bath on a jacuzzi. They laugh, including Rosie (Gay Baynes) and Montclaire (Robbie Coltrane) because Owens gives himself airs, but Byron has disappeared while Matt was talking to them. Byron has healed a boy's eyes, so his father (Eris Akman) will always be grateful to him. The fact that he is a healer causes a bit of a commotion on the town. Byron seems to be humouring Owens, staying with him because he's decided to do so. Matt gives his boots to one of the youngsters of the town (Bruce Boa), as he intends to leave somewhere else from that moment on, and never return to that place.

    The two police officer reach the woods surrounding Hell's Kitchen, and they found some men moonlightning, including Montclaire, and they kill them without difficulty. They bury the contrabandists under the rocks. Matt Owens goes on his way on his airplane with Byron, but they have to land to spend the night on a cave. Matt talks about his dreams concerning having thousands of balloons with his name on them, but he says that he always wakes up. Matt thinks that Byron is trying to plant the idea on his head of letting him go, but hat won't happen. Matt is also worried that Byron will try to do something fishy to him while they are sleeping as Byron sleeps with his eyes open-wide. Byron says that Matt wouldn't be able to kill him even if he tried to escape.

    Byron tries to check Matt's pulse, as he may have symptoms of curare poisoning, but Matt thinks he's tried to strungle him in his sleep. Matt admits that he's lost. Byron heals a man. Maya (Rita Wolf) says that her people didn't want to defend themselves, as violence only brings out more violence. Ariel (Eleanor David) stays by Byron's side while he heals the man. Byron heals the bleeding wound. The wounded man's name is Travis (Paul Reynolds) doesn't believe in Byron, saying that he is a false prophet, and that he wasn't born from a father. Maya tries to convince Trevor.

    Tasker and Belitski appear, and they make a deal with Matt: the poison's antidote in exchange of Byron. During the night, strong winds make navigation really difficult. Tasker and Belitski tell Matt that Byron is an android, a robot which wants to behave as human - that's why it was said that he wasn't born from a man. Byron is in a kind of square kite and Matt goes up to release it. Byron says that Tasker - who is ascending by way of a parachute - may join them, but Matt is more realistic and knows that they won't. Belitski says she knew that Matt Owens' word could not be trusted. The thing falls down to the floor.

    Ariel wants to go with them. Matt goes on wanting his reward, and Tasker mocks the machine who wants to behave as a human. Although Ariel has fought the police officers, she walks on and closes the door after her. Byron says she'll come back and Matt asks him why he is always right: Byron says he's perceptive.

    They are inside a dereclict church / cathedral, but it leads the way to a bar. Two men (Rico Ross & George Camiller) are drinking champagne, and the first one complains that if they keep on helping everybody, somebody will try to destroy the place in the end. Ariel wants a life which is more than mere survival from day to day. Everybody dances, and Byron does it very well.

    Ariel defends the idea that Byron may solve the air conditioning problem. Avatar (Ben Kingsley) oposes the idea of using an android: he deems the wind problem an unsolvable problem. He and the mother (Jennifer Hilary) are outraged that an android has shagged his daughter (Maiser Asghar), and even Ariel saying that only Byron is the android - he slept with Ariel - doesn not help Byron's cause. Byron says that he's been able to sleep and that he dreamt. Matt's decided to let Byron go. Byron seems shocked at the news. Byron is happy to have the change of either staying or going.

    But Bielitski and Tasker reach the hidden town. Byron is terrified: he doesn't want to be free to go if Ariel doesn't want to leave without him. Avatar says that the community is responsible of judging Byron. Ariel believes that Byron didn't kill anybody. Tasker threatens to kill everybody. The people in the community take Byron to Tasker. Bielitski shoots Matt with another dart. He punches her and ties her to a bed.

    Tasker leaves with Byron. The strong winds force Byron to take the reigns of the plane. However, the plane crashes and Tasker dies. Byron is distraught that Tasker thought that he could have saved him.

    Matt is with his new girlfriends, and he finally has his fancy-designed balloons flying off onto the sky - a bright but a bit cloudy day with a soft breeze at the most.

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