Taxes and dragon
Evelyn Wang starts her day very badly in the family laundry. Her husband Waymond is considering divorce, his daughter resents him for not accepting his girlfriend, and her father is visiting the United States, carrying in his luggage all the blame he can throw at his child’s face. emigrated.
However, all this is ultimately only a small thing in the face of the tax adjustment that awaits heroin. What Evelyn does not yet know is that her arrival in the cold and impersonal offices of the tax inspectors will become the scene of a breach in the Multiverse. Yes, this same Multiverse which is used by pop-culture to justify almost everything and anything, overwhelming metaphysical impulses of Rick & Morty to Marvel’s infinite screenplay “reset” possibilities.
Can you hear me, Yeoh?
Necessarily, Everything Everywhere All at Once could seem telephoned, even opportunistic, in its way of combining a drama with American tendency tendency of Sundance festival and a narrative force with the mode. The surprise card of the film across the Atlantic – which enjoyed word-of-mouth too rare to be underlined – leaves one wondering. Are we facing a real contemporary phenomenon that comes out of the nails (all the more pleasing at a time when theaters are struggling to recover from the Covid) or a simple stroke of marketing genius?
Luckily, the feature film by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (nicknamed the Daniels) quickly tipped the balance in favor of the first option. Despite the mind-boggling number of rules and concepts that allow Evelyn to connect to versions of herself in alternate dimensions, the directing duo (already at the helm of Swiss Army Man) strives to maintain efficiency in the unfolding of its narrative, so as never to lose the viewer in avalanches of indigent techno-bullshit.
Fortunately, moreover, since for the rest, Everything Everywhere All at Once does not give gifts. A thousand ideas follow each other every minute, from a discovery of montage to an absurd replica passing by a delirious gag, the whole within images which do not cease changing format. It would be criminal to say too much about the ins and outs of the whole thing, let’s just say that kung fu rubs shoulders with, among other things, the existential science fiction film and… sausage-fingered humans. The result could be grueling. On the contrary, it could not be more exhilarating.
“I got no friends. I got family” – Dominic Toretto
At Large Screen, we rather appreciated Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but we must admit that Sam Raimi’s film disappoints as soon as it tries to get to the very heart of its concept. Beyond a single sequence that tries out funny ideas, we have for the rest only a clean future where you have to cross at a red light (craziness!).
Faced with so much lukewarmness, the Daniels’ feature film can only cause syncope in comparison. In the continuity of a single and unique movement, the filmmakers encapsulate entire worlds, and pass from one universe to another through games of fittings and transitions that reveal the generosity of the project.
fingers in worship
Whether he’s having fun parodying animation classics or delivering the most enjoyable martial arts scenes in recent American cinema, Everything Everywhere All at Once takes the form ofa cultural pop potpourri always deferential and respectful of its models. The shock is reminiscent of that caused by the inventiveness of the Wachowskis during the first Matrix, and this is probably no coincidence. While the most improbable actions help connect with the other universes, Evelyn finds how her original world is nothing but a normative hyperreality, especially when she tries to extricate herself from offices as soothing as those in which Mr. Anderson worked.
However, the feature film can also be compared to a more recent work, namely Three thousand years waiting for you by George Miller. In both cases, the bulimic appetite for clashing fictional universes paradoxically refers to a blueprint of the seventh art, and to a return to its fundamental principles. What is important is the connection between two images to create movement, and two planes to give meaning to this movement, in the midst of the global nonsense of life.
The world is stone
These foundations turn out to be essential to the overall architecture of a film that ultimately leaves nothing to chance. Whether Everything Everywhere All at Once could take pleasure in his crazy nature (and this is the case in very rare moments), he never forgets that he serves a strong emotional heart, which constantly redistributes the cards. In the great existential void of the Multiverse, the Daniels always cling to their characters, even the most tertiary ones, to make their desires, their sorrows, their disappointments exist.
Each shot on a universe leads to its reverse shot, to the exploration of a blind spot transforming each recurring gag into an overwhelming catharsis. Even when it comes to using an evocatively shaped trophy as an anal plug, the film treats its absurdities with a salutary first degree. The humanity he captures only becomes more stunning in its universality, evoking in turn family resentment, depression, the unsaid, and the need to express a love too often left silent.
Ke Huy Quan, absolutely brilliant in all registers
In the Mood for Love (and Kung Fu)
From there, it’s hard not to melt for the meta dimension of the film, which offers its magnificent actors the role of a lifetime, like revenge on an industry that has denigrated them. While Ke Huy Quan (Waymond) has always been reduced to Half-MoonIndiana Jones 2he is more charismatic than ever as a tender husband or a melancholy gentleman straight out of a Wong Kar-Wai film.
But of course, Everything Everywhere All at Once is before everything a declaration of love to Michelle Yeoh, thanks to a camera that never ceases to sublimate the finesse of his game and his martial skills, which are still as impressive as ever. The actress of Tiger and Dragon suddenly becomes more than that, and embodies through the delirium of the Daniels a metonymy of Hong Kong cinema of yesteryear.
Mount Saint Michelle
Here again, we think of the first adventures of Neo, but with a more bittersweet aspect, which evokes the swan song of a certain idea of cinema. If Evelyn returns to the source of what she is, it is generally the approach of the feature film. He seeks to close the loop around his referents, so much so that he uses the figure of the circle as a recurring motif, from the drum of washing machines to a certain donut.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is all the more impressive and pleasing, as he always manages to land on his feet, like a miraculous cat (or Schrödinger) that would have been thrown from the top of a skyscraper. His hyperactive energy is not just an artifice. This is perhaps the best way to include the feature film in a hitherto untamed modernity, where the images are linked and respond to each other like so many swipes on a social network timeline. If the Multiverse is already starting to tire, the Daniels may well have signed one of the definitive works on the subject.