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‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (Blu-ray review)

As representation improves and materialist analyses become more widely prevalent, it becomes tempting to regard art as a fractured mirror in which stories are created and sold to demographics according to particular concerns and viewpoints.

“This story isn’t for you” is a refrain more and more commonly heard in discussions of film and television.

It can be tempting to forget that there’s a layer of meaning that underwrites questions of race, sex, orientation, identity, etc. because it deals with what is foundational to just being a bipedal carbon based hairless monkey on this spinning rock.

In a movie about dimensional hopping kung fu, we’re going to back to the most basic ideas we can.

Tennessee Williams once had a character tell us that plays were “truth, in the pleasant guise of illusion” and from the particular story of particular people we draw out some universal insight into our own human condition that we have missed being in the muck and shit of life 24/7/365. Just as you need a mirror to create the illusion of your face before you know whether you need a shave or not.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is about the webs of unhappiness we weave for ourselves, and that we project to the people we love most and our ability to find at least solace, if not some real happiness, if we walk away from them and keep in mind that everyone we encounter is fighting through the same muck. In order to make that palatable without giving the audience collective diabetes its aims are cleverly encased in a high concept science fiction metaphor that recalls the precision and cleverness of The Matrix.

It uses this central conceit with a great deal of visual and thematic acuity presenting striking imagery, wonderful sight gags, and a myriad of pop culture references (My personal favorite would have to be the alternate universe where our heroine’s life is literally a Wong Kar-Wai film). The first hour and a half are breathlessly, perfectly, paced with exposition dumps and action sequences tagging in and out and bleeding into one another leading to a wonderful meta fake out and the final act.

Extras include audio commentary from co-writers/co-directors. Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, featurettes, deleted scenes, outtakes, music video, outtakes and trailer.

Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan are OUTSTANDING, and what a wonderful turn for James Hong. I cannot say enough about this movie.

Rejuvenating, life-affirming, clever, creative, and exciting.  Watch it.

5 out of 5 stars.


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