Everything Everywhere All At Once is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2022 6 days ago

Everything Everywhere All At Once is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2022

The Matrix meets a live-action version of Rick & Morty.

Multiverses are definitely having a moment, aren't they?

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Spider-Man: No Way Home, the Doctor Strange sequel and entire central plots in Rick & Morty have all very recently dealt with universes running parallel to our own, the concept of infinite variations of yourself and everything and everyone you know being slightly or completely different to how you know them to be in this reality.

It can be a brain-bending proposition for most, which is why Everything Everywhere All At Once makes the clever decision to centre it all in what is initially a humdrum existence.

We're introduced to Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) as she is trying to juggle a million different things: she's got an important meeting with an IRS inspector (Jamie Lee Curtis), and she's trying to organise a Chinese New Year party with her father (James Hong). Her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) is trying to get her attention long enough to give her divorce papers, while their daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) wants to bring her girlfriend (Tallie Medel), but Evelyn is convinced her old-school father will disapprove.

It's... a lot.

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Once we get to the IRS headquarters - which is where 90% of the movie takes place - a parallel version of Waymond jumps between universes to warn Evelyn of an incredible danger that is about to arrive, something so powerful that it could destroy all existence in all known universes. And it turns out that this version of Evelyn is the only one that can save them.

He gives her a bullet-point version of how to access her own alternative selves, and as she jumps between the different Evelyns, she returns to herself with the abilities those Evelyns have mastered. It is an ingenious twist on what is essentially the "I know kung fu" scene from The Matrix, and it opens up near-endless possibilities for the filmmakers to constantly switch up their aesthetic style.

Those directors - Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as The Daniels - also provide the screenplay, and if there are any faults to be found, it is that can be a little too loose with its own inventiveness. A parallel reality where humans evolved to have hotdogs for fingers probably sounded funny at 2am in the writer's room, but in reality, it doesn't quite work.

Not that it matters, because for every one idea that doesn't quite stick the landing, there are 10, 15, 20 more that absolutely do. And they've got such an incredible cast to bring it all to life, from Hollywood legends like Hong (who has been in everything from Blade Runner to Kung Fu Panda) and Quan (best known for his childhood roles in The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).

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But this all comes down to Michelle Yeoh. In a just world, she would have been a huge international action star on the same level of Sandra Bullock or Charlize Theron, and getting to see her in such a spectacular role here is just another reminder of what a treasure she is. And not just the action stuff - which, of course, Yeoh absolutely nails - but the big beating heart at the centre of it all, existing as a woman who has never reached her true potential and might be taking that resentment out on everyone else in her life.

Existentialism, nihilism, generational guilt, modern sexuality, mind-bending sci-fi, eye-popping action... it is all in here. And so are people with hotdogs for fingers.

Everything Everywhere All At Once arrives in Irish cinemas on Friday, 13 May.

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Clip via A24