In Fay Grim, Jeff Goldblum and Parker Posey characters shine

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“Fay Grim” is the sequel to Hal Hartley’s 1998 Cannes award winning film, “Henry Fool”, and this time around, we are back in the hot seat again with Parker Posey playing Fool’s wife (she now took back her maiden name) and is embroiled in international intrigue and espionage. Let me explain why.

Well, Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) is an enigamatic terrorist who once spun tales of his adventures to his young son. The young boy thought them to be mere fantasies to lull him to sleep, but Henry was actually revealing his true exploits and duplicities around the globe. Known around the world for his surreptitious dealings, Henry even had a chair thrown at him by the Pope, himself.

Fay, now a single mom from Queens is dealing with family issues when her son is expelled from school for passing around a tiny moving picture box showcasing an orgy. Now, that’s just the start of her problems. Living day by day and monetarily on Fay’s brother’s (Nobel Prize now incarcerated poet Simon Grim) royalty checks, Fay is unaware of the haphazards which will befall her.

Questions now begin to arise…1. Who sent the mysterious orgy device? 2. What will happen to Simon? 3. Why is Henry’s demise so filled with lingering loopholes? Enter CIA Agent Fulbright (Jeff Goldblum) and his young protégé, Agent Fogg (Leo Fitzpatrick) to seemingly set the records straight about Henry’s death. It was discovered that Henry Fool had six “confessional” books and which within them contain incriminating information the world over. Information that every nation that Henry has ever had contact with is desperate to obtain by not so honorable means.

What follows is nothing short of a whirlwind of events for Parker Posey in pursuit of these confessional books in Paris. Hartley spares us with the conventional action synonymous with action/spy thrillers today. Instead, he delivers clever yet a copious amount of dialogue and a series of who done-its. Before we know it, Fay is pulled in every direction possible as well as the books, passed around like a hot potato, it’s enough to make your head swim. The technique utilized for the camera primarily was the canted/dutch tilt shot which served only to add to the complexities already embedded within the scene due to the countless rapid fire verbiage.

Despite here being several instances of humorous moments, (especially when several religious personas are given the mysterious movie box for the purpose of analyzing it). But, the true characters which shine first and foremost are Jeff Goldblum and Parker Posey who brought life to their dialogue swamped characters. What was lacking in physical action was made up in so much knotted and mind numbing dialogue, it made it extremely difficult to follow. I even heard a few members of the audience go crazy trying to follow what was going on within the story.

Again humor moments aside, what starts off as a sleek twist on an old genre, unfortunately, emerges as a lackluster story that keeps the audience at bay. We don’t emphasize with anyone, we don’t get caught up in the dramatic action because we’re too busy figuring out the plot moving dialogue which if you don’t catch on fast, you’re lost for the rest of the film.
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Weak: 1 Star   Average: 2 Stars   Good: 3 Stars   Very Good: 4 Stars   Excellent: 5 Stars

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Tobe R. Roberts

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