What it is: EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is an “interdimensional action film” from directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – the tortured minds behind the very bizarre SWISS ARMY MAN), telling the story about a woman who exists across multiple universes, each with varying personalities and abilities, and she must somehow save them all from a very powerful evil.
What Dan thought: Wow. Just WOW. This movie is by far and away one of the best I’ve seen this year. Yes, I appreciate that we are only three and a half months in, but still…
Michelle Yeoh, as Evelyn – a meek laundromat owner who is undergoing what appears to be the toughest challenge in her humdrum life: an IRS audit – when a version of her husband from another reality (played by Ke Huy Quan – yes, indeed, Short Round from INDIANA JONES & THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, no less) visits her and informs her she must save all realities.
The cast all came to the project ready to play, presenting differing shades of their characters skewed from those many alternate realities, all with completely varying personas and perspectives. To keep track of something like that and keep each persona clear and distinct is always a high-wire act, a nifty trick to pull off, and I applaud any performer willing to give it a punt.
Some standouts of this highwire act include Yeoh herself – in her first actual leading role, which sounds like something absurd I’ve just made up but I swear it’s true – and also the afore-mentioned Quan who went from a shy husband to an action star in some of the personas, on a dime… terrific stuff.
Of course, we have to mention the legend that is James Hong, who played the father to Yeoh’s Evelyn, and made every scene he was in fabulous. Also, newcomer Stephanie Hsu, who played the daughter of Yeoh and Quan, may not have many roles to her name so far but the way she carried all the different roles in this movie – and, as it happens, was stellar in them all – EEAAO is an incredible calling card and I can see her being ranked on many casting lists soon enough.
And if we are going to talk about Stephanie Hsu, we have to talk about some of the costumes she wore in different roles, some of which were extremely extravagant. The other parts of the production were also great with a score from experimental band Son Lux which fit in perfectly with the type of movie this was. The movie itself jumps from one reality to another seamlessly thanks to the terrific editing skills of Paul Rogers and the cinematography by Larkin Seiple (who also worked with the Daniels on Swiss Army Man)
And yes, this movie does have some great fight scenes thanks to veteran Brian Le (who did some stunts in Shang Chi, and Into the Badlands both of which have memorable fight sequences) and his team of stunt people including Kiera O’Connor (as Yeoh’s double), Gemma Nguyen (Hsu), Elisabeth P. Carpenter (Curtis), and Alfred Hsing (Hong).
The movie may have been sold merely as a bombastic action movie from the trailer, but the end result is it far from that. It has outstanding action and fight scenes, yes (this is Michelle Yeoh we’re talking about, would we have expected anything less) but also has a strong emotional core and a real, deep bond between family and relationships across the interdimensional divide.
Kwan and Scheinert also bring a whimsical nature to the film with some laugh out loud scenes, including a theme of how the characters become their personas from other realities: to become their other personas, they have to do a certain action, which can be as simple from saying something, or which some of are quite painful, and some of which caused the audience to laugh… safe to say, you’ll get what I mean when you check this film out for yourself.
And you really should because if you decide to let EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE pass you by, when you finally get round to seeing it, you’ll want to find your alternate reality self and slap them for letting it be so long.
Dan’s grade: A, without a shadow of a doubt – easily one of the best movies so far in 2022 and a film that may not get a lot of mainstream advertising, but don’t let that stop you from seeing it if you can.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE premiered at South by Southwest on March 11th 2021, and will be released theatrically in the United States on March 25th and expanding to more venues in the US in April.
Are you going watch the movie? Have you already? Feel free to leave a comment below or chat with us on Twitter at @TheConCollectve!
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