"Slipstream" marks Anthony Hopkins‘ third turn behind the camera, and it is either a bravura break from the confines of traditional narrative filmmaking or astonishingly pretentious hooey. Most critics are voting for hooey, or, as Ed Gonzalez at Slant put it, "Holy caca!" ("Finally, the ‘Nearer, Father, Nearer’ video from Ghost World stretched to feature length!" he adds. Finally! Though we think it might actually be "Mirror, Father, Mirror," no?). "Not so much ill conceived and misdirected as unconceived and undirected, this is folly on a grand scale," claims Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader, while Noel Murray at the Onion AV Club suggests
If nothing else, Slipstream is astonishing just for the way it lets us in on what Hopkins has been thinking about all these years. Turns out, he’s been pondering the slipperiness of identity among people who make their living pretending. And he’s also been thinking a lot about Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. And Richard Nixon.
Stephen Holden at the New York Times is also dissatisfied: "Stuffed with references to old movies and insider lore about life on a movie set, much of ‘Slipstream’ feels like a loosely connected series of jokes." For Jeff Reichert at indieWIRE, the problem lies in the film’s lack of center and deconstructing of what was never established to being with: "’Slipstream’ calls to mind David Lynch’s ‘Inland Empire’ gone horribly awry–Lynch, an expert in bending cinematic reality to his will, had the good sense to masterfully seduce audiences into his rabbit hole. Hopkins, seemingly less sure of himself, hyperactively assaults from the start." Lynch comparison come up in several reviews; Andrew O’Hehir at Salon allows that "The film has moments of goofy delight, some pseudo-David Lynch spookery and a couple of comic supporting turns." Beyond that, though, he adds "the movie as a whole is nonsense. I’m glad that Hopkins has apparently been using the bland, middlebrow stage of his acting career to experiment with massive doses of psychotropic chemicals and open the doors of perception and all that." "Who would have guessed that Hopkins’s brain was such an impenetrable inland empire?" adds Aaron Hillis at the Village Voice. "Hopkins claims it’s a comedy, and perhaps John Turturro’s live-action cartoon of a mogul producer suggests so, but what does it all mean? That art can be just as shallow as Hollywood?"
Roger Ebert, however, tentatively declares his support: "Now is ‘Slipstream’ worth seeing? I think so, if you’ll actively engage your sympathy with Hopkins’ attempt to do something tricky and difficult. If you want to lie back and let the movie come to you, you may be lying there a long time."