Review Everything Everywhere All At Once: a complex masterpiece

It is almost impossible to overemphasize the vulgarity that turns a blind eye to the work of Daniel Cowan and Daniel Sinert as the Daniels collective film crew. Their first feature film, Swiss army man, saw Paul Dano riding the body of Daniel Radcliffe who flew to freedom and glory. Their most famous music video, for “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon, makes Kwan feel the rhythm so hard that his crotch breaks walls and ceilings, infecting the chests and asses of those who see him. with similar destructive energy. . In their short film Interesting ball, a cosmic event causes Scheinert to be physically absorbed in Kwan’s rectum. Their images are often pleasantly raw and almost always striking, as they go to places that most creators would not dare.

At the same time, however, it is equally difficult to overemphasize the humanitarian messages embraced by their work. All these works make people find a strangely fascinating force that confirms life in the strange, coarse places that the world takes from them. Swiss army man In particular, he is utterly astonishing in the depths of his thoughts on cynicism, existentialism, and the concept of human connection. Daniels’s latest work, The Wild Imagination Multi-Universe Martial Arts All Everywhere Simultaneously, continues the trend with bloody killings, armed snouts and a fast-paced, hilarious battle of anal interference. But it is also a painful honest examination of despair, cynicism, anger and rage, all of which lead to a message that is even more moving because before claiming that life is worth living, he looks deep into the abyss, considering all the reasons. for which people may think differently.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Yeoh Sit Tired Outside a Laundry at Night at Everything Everywhere All At Once

Photo: A24

Everything EverywhereIts plot is best discovered at the moment, as it unfolds with speed and flicker that turns each new revelation into a new jolt of electricity. Suffice it to say that martial arts superstar Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn Wang, a superfluous Chinese first-generation immigrant who has a laundry with Waymond’s likeable husband (Ke Huy Quan) but has no time for him or her frustrated adult daughter. Joy. (Stephanie Hsu) in the midst of her daily business struggles.

Among other things, the washing machine is controlled by the funny IRS agent Deirdre (a meticulously disguised Jamie Lee Curtis), just as Evelyn is trying to impress her father, Gong Gong (James Hong), the contemptuous visitor. Meanwhile, Joey tries to get Evelyn to recognize Joey’s girlfriend, Beth, and Weymond tries to get Evelyn to recognize him at all. When Evelyn is informed that she is the key to fighting an enormous evil that threatens the entire multiverse, her spasmodic response is a detached, angry “Too busy today, there is no time to help you.”

When the threat catches her anyway, Everything Everywhere it explodes perfectly in a series of creatively organized, comedic battles, a journey into different timelines and realities, and a surprisingly fast pace of a series of personal explorations and revelations. The worlds Evelyn has access to are stupid, sad or strange, but none of them cause her as much as the things she lost to understand about herself, her family and her own past and future.

Michelle Yeoh, in a hanfu-era dress, returns to a forest as an off-screen actor shows her a sword in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Photo: A24

This is a film that works with the renewed rhythm of stories like Edgar Wright Scott Pilgrim vs. the World or the recent animated Oscar nominee Mitchells vs. Machines, with the characters crawling breathlessly from one manic sequence of action to the next. Yet Kwan and Scheinert constantly find small, quiet pockets where Evelyn can think about how she has disappointed herself and other people, what she owes them and what she can still offer them. For a film that often throws Evelyn through realities and through walls and windows, it focuses wonderfully on her well-being and self-understanding. And more than that, it focuses on understanding how people inevitably limit their potential future every time they make choices and how meaningless life can take care of a range of choices that go wrong.

Everything EverywhereIts multiverse is an extremely flexible metaphor. It is equally suitable for expressing some common frustrations that the public may have, about bad choices and missed opportunities. But it is equally suitable for setting up a series of ridiculous action scenes, where literally anything is possible, because the characters are not bound by reality or causality. Kwan and Scheinert use this central idea of ​​the multiverse to let their characters change bodies, costumes, skills, and settings on the go, in ways that are visually dazzling and even overwhelming. But they did it all with a clarity of thought and intention that makes it surprisingly easy – and exciting – to follow.

Michelle Yeoh, bloodied and wearing one eye on her forehead, grabs Harry Shum, Jr. by the hair.  by Glee during a fight scene in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Photo: A24

And even as they focus on the big picture of a million universes collapsing around a single predatory evil, they are just as aware of the smaller picture. So much of this story is told in tiny, indicative detail as the way Joey nervously rolls up his girlfriend’s sleeves to cover her tattoos before trying to introduce her to Gong Gong. Or the way Weymond sadly watches two elderly Chinese at the IRS exchange a humble kiss and clearly long for the same kind of tenderness in his life. Above all, Daniel trusts his viewers to keep up with the story, even when such notes of grace blur very quickly, without explanation or underlining.

All Everywhere Simultaneously operates in a pop culture universe filled with familiar remnants of the genre: a bit of Douglas Adams nonsense here, a visual snippet or idea or line or mood that stems from a plethora of other films out there. But while the Daniels quote 2001: A Space Odyssey in a scene and The Terminator In another, the biggest point of contact of the film is The Matrixand not just because Evelyn discovers, to her surprise, that she knows kung fu.

Despite a long line of Matrix sequels and re-quels, ripoffs and copycats, this is the first film that authentically feels just as stunning, bold and clear that it changes the game with the 1999 Wachowskis original. The special effects, with this kaleidoscopic approach to changing forms, are seen as radical now as it was bullet time when it first arrived. The film’s intoxicatingly destructive philosophy about the universe is as ambitious and radical as The MatrixThe Cognitive perception of reality took place then. And the martial arts battle, carefully placed between impressively choreographed and openly silly, feels as radical as ever in a choreography contest by Jackie Chan or Woo-Ping Yuen.

But where The Matrix is completely trapped by his own sense of airlessness, his cybertech-gothic humor without humor and his love of kickass tableaux, Everything Everywhere has a sense of play and humor that helps the whole existential philosophy to go more smoothly. One result of this warp-fast narrative is that the film sometimes pulls slingshots of passion and punches, and then returns again, fast enough to cause a bang. But in this environment that always goes, changes do not seem like tonal contradictions. They just feel like an acknowledgment that life is painful and irrational at the same time, and that the tension between the two helps to define the feeling of being human.

The main cast of Everything Everywhere All At Once sits together at an IRS audition

Photo: A24

The cast is simply stellar. Ke Huy Quan – once Short Round in 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Destruction and Data in The Goonies – may be the biggest revelation in the cast, with a demanding role that makes him change emotions and personalities repeatedly throughout the film, while maintaining this gentle longing throughout the film. But Daniels demands a lot from their entire cast and Yeoh, Hsu, Hong and Curtis meet the very strange challenges of the film. (Jenny Slate and JoyHarry Sam Jr. also appears in supporting roles that no one is likely to forget.) Like all of Kwan and Sinert Everything Everywhere he is discreet, both in his great ambitions and in his subversive tone. No one else makes such films. Probably no one else would even want to.

This can be a little sad to think about — even in a multiverse of endless possibilities, it is unlikely to see a movie like This again. But at the same time, it means every moment of it Everything Everywhere is a fascinating unknown. There is no prediction of where a work by Daniels will travel at any given moment: high in the ass of a character or in his wildest dreams. Sometimes they are both at the same time. The miracle is that Scheinert and Kwan make everything feel natural, even when they go to places no one else could have imagined.

All Everywhere Simultaneously is now played in major cities, with a nationwide mood to continue on April 8.

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