LLast week, Jamie Lee Curtis made internet headlines when she gleefully declared on social media that her new movie “beats every Marvel movie.” The Multiverse Theme Everything everywhere at once actually gave dr Strange in the multiverse of madness (which cost eight times as much) is in a race for its money financially and artistically. Well above its weight, this inventive indie image offers spectacular ambition that belies its limited budget. For all her mad inventiveness and frenzied visual wit, what drives this tale of a woman trapped in a world of “laundry and taxes” is a palpable emotional punch — that most “special” effect that franchise blockbusters often cannot deliver.
Michelle Yeoh bites into a kaleidoscopic role that cheekily draws from her own genre-hopping-back catalogue. She plays Evelyn Wang, a disillusioned and exhausted Chinese-American woman who runs a laundromat with her smilingly disappointing husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan, who first rose to fame as Short Round in). Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). Together they try to fend off IRS examiner Deirdre Beaubeirdra, played by Jamie Lee Curtis with a work-worthy sneer and frightening bangs.
Over the years, Evelyn (who raves about musical romance on TV) has dreamed of being anything from a singer to a novelist to a therapist. But in real life, she worries about her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) and her visiting father Gong Gong (James Hong), too scared to tell the latter that his granddaughter is gay and too uptight to tell the former that she is loves her anyway.
Then, in an IRS elevator, the normally quiet Waymond suddenly transforms into an Action Man version of himself from another multiverse Matrix-Mission to find “the one” who can save her from Jobu Tupaki, an almighty “verse jumper” who threatens to tear reality apart. “Every rejection, every disappointment has led you to this moment,” he insists, revealing that endless alternative possibilities await our antiheroine and explaining that while Evelyn is currently living “the worst of you,” she is actually “in the location” be anything…because you’re so bad at it everything“.
Filmmaking duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as “Daniels”) had a hard time making music videos and internet shorts before making the extremely odd “Farty Creatures” movie Swiss army man. for Everything everywhere at once They were reportedly inspired by Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu, whose work (“so intricate, so detailed, so dense”) can appear chaotic up close, yet somehow clear from afar. The same is true of this film, which happily sends its protagonist into a bewildering series of increasingly absurd worlds (in one, people have hot dogs on their fingers) while maintaining recognizable overarching structures.
For all its fantasy trappings, this is a film with down-to-earth concerns: mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, growing up and coming out, dreams and disappointments, difference and belonging, generational gaps and information overload. Like the sci-fi stories of Kurt Vonnegut’s alter ego Kilgore Trout or the increasingly influential Douglas Adams hitchhIker’s Guide to the Galaxythe narrative may be out of this world, but the issues it addresses (a life of “fragmented moments, contradictions and confusion” in which things make only fleeting sense) are unmistakably human.
In addition to 90s hits such as The Matrix and fight clubthe Daniels peppered their upstart film with great references to Stanley Kubrick 2001, Wong Kar Wais In the mood for love and (most bizarrely) Pixars Ratatouille, all tumble dried with elements of Jackie Chan’s martial arts epics, Mexican luchador films and Michel Gondry’s DIY ethos. A rich and complex score by American experimental band Son Lux throws everything and the kitchen sink into the mix on a soundtrack that glides from dizzying psychedelic noises to melancholy fragments of Debussy’s Clair de Lune. The result, while a bit overly long and convoluted, made me laugh, cry and think – more than can be said of many a Marvel flick.