Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong and Jamie Lee Curtis
Directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan
With a title like ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, as you can probably imagine, it can be hard to even know where to begin when it comes to explaining its concept, as well as dissecting all its intricacies. Put simply, iMDB first had the synopsis listed as “A woman tries to do her taxes.” However, this film expands outwards from this basic premise, and covers so much emotion, adventure, and action within its two hours and nineteen minutes runtime. As a film that definitely benefits from knowing as little about the plot as possible when going into it, it can become a tricky thing to review – but of course we’ll try our best.
In this modern world of mass consumption, where TV’s play whilst phone screens are held, and music sounds from some distant room, it seems the average person is so often being constantly overwhelmed by content in varying forms. Whether this is a good thing or not is a question for another day, but to say that ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ embodies this stage of humanity within film form would probably be an understatement. Viewers are thrown in completely at the deep end, left to make sense of the overwhelming world defined by partners-in-crime filmmakers Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert at the same pace as our leading actress Michelle Yeoh, who delivers a brilliant performance balancing the spinning plates of motherly duties, business management, and multidimensional calamities.
It would be difficult to discuss this film without mentioning the dimension-travelling qualities of films most recently churned out by the Marvel conglomerate, and how the ‘EEAAO’ filmmakers have taken those big-budget qualities, and applied them to indie filmmaking. In fact, only five members of the film’s production worked on the intricate visual effects which comprised so much of the story, with most of them having learnt all they know from online tutorials. To see a smaller production crew go toe-to-toe with these behemoth superhero stories which have consumed the big screen in recent years, and succeed in creating an action-packed and exciting story, gives hope to the belief that there are still a great number of genres which can ignite the same feeling of adventure that recently seemed to have been reserved only for the blockbuster format.
Each character in the story – and there a lot to mention – completely give their all to their performance. Though the script may be unlike anything else they’ve previously brought to life, it seems as if everyone on set was as enraptured in the insanity of the plot as the audience becomes, knowing that what they were making was unlike anything seen before. This film feels like a landmark occasion within independent filmmaking, where it’s proved that with a great story, anything can be possible, no matter how surreal an idea is.
‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ really is a film which needs to be seen to be believed, dancing elegantly between moments of profound thinking, childlike humour and gripping action. I’m sure there’s so much more to be gained from this film across repeat viewings – it really was a treat to watch this story play out on the big screen.