Move over, Before Sunset: Fay Grim
is the latest decade-later sequel to a seemingly un-sequel-able '90s indie sensation. And, like Before Sunset
, it may just be superior to its predecessor. It's undoubtedly more demanding. Filmmaker Hal Hartley takes the central unknown of 1997's Henry Fool
' what exactly was in that multi-volume 'confessionâ?� on which Henry had slaved for years ' and builds a new narrative around it, sending Henry's wife Fay (Parker Posey, reprising her Henry Fool
role) to Paris and later Istanbul to retrieve a couple of the vanished Henry's notebooks, which may contain sensitive information about America's security. The story is deliberately perplexing, and while the logic of the serpentine narrative surely makes sense, Hartley is more concerned with the cadences and rhythms of the spy movie itself. Fay Grim
is nothing less than a complete genre deconstruction, calling attention to the arbitrariness of spy protocol and using such alienating devices as slanted angles (there's not a level shot in the movie), Godardian intertitles, and slo-mo and still photography to play with convention. This ostensible comedy ends up coalescing into the farthest thing from escapism: It's an exhaustive look at our complicated global climate, giving us all reason to be paranoid.