“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.” – Mandy Hale
Swiss Army Man made its idiosyncratic debut in 2016. When the end credits rolled I was convinced I’d likely never see something so bizarre or unique ever again. I thought if anyone could ever top just how distinctive that movie is, it would be the same people who made such an achievement. Having now experienced Everything Everywhere All at Once, I think I may have been correct in my assumption.
Of course only time will tell but for now at least, if Swiss Army Man is the peanut butter in an asylum born sandwich, Everything Everywhere All at Once is the swarm of insects standing in for the missing strawberry jam. It is the Yin to a Yang consisting of a dead man doubling as a motorboat which is powered by the force of gasses leaving the body; aka the dead body farts a lot. It truly makes you ponder what in the hell they could possibly come up with next. I am both excited and a bit nervous to have that question answered.
EEAO (Everything Everywhere All at Once) is a fever dream that is in so many ways actually about our dreams. It’s about our goals in life and how often the things we perceive as insignificant can sometimes be the very catalyst for an entire life course correction and most of the time we aren’t even aware it’s happening. What if I did this instead of that? What if? It’s the driving force behind one of the most ambitiously ludicrous endeavors I’ve ever seen and unquestionably one of the first truly great movies of 2022.
This movie will divide. I promise. Having been put through the wringer that is this movie I don’t see any kind of take it or leave it reactions. You’re either going to appreciate its uniqueness and absurdity or you’ll absolutely abhor this nonsense. What I love about this movie is also what left me a bit dizzy in both a visual sense and a storytelling one. It makes it perfectly clear from the very beginning that what you are going to experience over the next two plus hours is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. I would argue that while I’m glad not all movies are like this, so bizarre and brain melting, I would say too that this is what movies are for. The tentpole films, the big franchises are fun but for the most part, are rehashed retellings of stories not originating in the world of superheroes or graphic novels. Often their themes and approach are things we’ve experienced to one degree or another. While the themes of EEAO are universal and as old as time, the approach, the execution is something genuinely profound and as movies should be, it’s just downright entertaining as hell.
Everything Everywhere All at Once tells the story of Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, an otherwise normal Chinese immigrant that runs a laundry mat above which she lives. Her life is as any other not fortunate enough to find themselves wealthy in the midst of the dying American dream. She struggles to find her day to day desire to continue on. She is in contention with the IRS on the verge of losing her business and that’s just her day to day. In the grand scheme of Evelyn’s life is a marriage long since dormant, possibly facing its ignominious conclusion. And in the center of it is a daughter who doesn’t understand her mother and Evelyn who can’t comprehend her daughter’s life decisions as a now young adult in the early years of self discovery.
In a moment of self trajectory she makes a decision that forever alters her path in life and who she believed she was after all these years. From this moment on it is never fully clear that her experiences are real or a made up fantasy she hopes will distract her from the harsh realities of a failing marriage and a dying business. Either way she is now on the adventure of hundreds of lifetimes and Evelyn as she once knew herself will never be the same. This is both Evelyn’s story and the story of what if, something we all wonder about our own existence. Prepare for one off-the-wall journey not so much about distance but rather time and experience. I promise you’ve never experienced anything like Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Rated R For: some violence, sexual material and language
Runtime: 132 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, James Hong
Directed By: Daniels
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 10/ Acting: 9/ Directing: 10/ Visuals: 10
OVERALL 9.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes.
Check out the trailer below:
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