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REVIEW: Everything Everywhere All at Once with Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis is bonkers indie-Matrix sci-fi ambition

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How would I make an 'elevator pitch' to big-shot Hollywood executives regarding this bonkers sci-fi/adventure yarn?

Well, how about: "What if some indie film-makers made The Matrix?"

This left-field multiverse maverick release stars Michelle Yeoh, known to audiences internationally for her roles in the Brosnan-era James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies and Ang Lee's Academy Award-winning martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24
Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24

It's written and directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert who are collectively known as "Daniels" and were responsible for the quirky Swiss Army Man (2016 and highly recommended).

Yeoh is Evelyn Quan, the Chinese-American owner of a struggling laundry which is being audited by fearsome IRS tax inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis).

Her husband is the seemingly ineffectual Waymond (Ke Huy Quan – remember him from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom?) who is filing for divorce but is almost afraid to serve the paperwork.

Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24
Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24

But Waymond is definitely not all he seems since he enlists Evelyn's help in a quest to save the universe. He explains to Evelyn that many parallel worlds exist, since every choice made creates a new universe.

In tow are Evelyn's family members, father Gong Gong (James Hong) and daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), the latter who is coming to terms with 'coming out'.

The film is tough to sum up and a few hundred words can't do it justice as it mixes a variety of genres, particularly comedy: it is much funnier than expected and the use of Deirdre's employee of the month award will haunt you for days!

Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24
Everything Everywhere All At Once. Picture: A24

The reported budget is 25 million dollars and the Daniels use it superbly. This is supposedly an eighth of what the other current multiverse release, Dr Strange 2 from Marvel, cost.

Many critics have favoured this film over Dr Strange – and I would agree with them. Marvel releases have settled into a reliable, safe and formulaic groove whereas this one swings for the fences.

Everything Everywhere... has garnered five-star reviews. While I wouldn't rate it that highly, and at times I just couldn't follow what was going on, nevertheless it's worth a look for its bonkers ambition alone.

• Any Easter eggs? Well, considering Ke Huy Quan was Indy's boy sidekick in Temple of Doom, is it coincidence that one of the heavies in Everything... resembles Indiana Jones baddie Pat Roach in build, appearance and moustache? Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree...

Peter Woodhouse

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