Fay Grim

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
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  1. ChadS.
    May 26, 2007
    5
    "Fay Grim" is exhausting to follow, but so was "Syriana", which might be the filmmaker's point. Most films about espionage are to some degree ridiculous in its labyrinthian construction. "Fay Grim" is all about style, all about the psuedo-seriousness in the actors' line deliveries. But even if you relax and conceed that the film's nonsensical plot is a straight-faced spoof "Fay Grim" is exhausting to follow, but so was "Syriana", which might be the filmmaker's point. Most films about espionage are to some degree ridiculous in its labyrinthian construction. "Fay Grim" is all about style, all about the psuedo-seriousness in the actors' line deliveries. But even if you relax and conceed that the film's nonsensical plot is a straight-faced spoof on the spy genre(so you don't bother trying to understand the plot), "Fay Grim" is still off-puttingly repetitive. Worst of all, when the story shifts to Pakistan, there doesn't seem to be a hint of the underlying absurdness that's prevalent in the film's other locations. Because "Fay Grim" gets serious, you wonder if closer attention should've been paid to the story elements that lead up to the scene between Henry Fool(Thomas Jay Ryan) and the Osama bin Laden-wanna-be. Even the action scenes are more convincing. The filmmaker had previously used a series of frozen stills to stage his first action set-piece, but by the end of "Fay Grim", it's hard to distinguish the difference between arch satire and the real thing when we see an explosion(which is supposed to be anathemia to independent film), and a character getting shot. Only Parker Posey as the titular character makes this pretentious film worth watching. Expand
  2. IanI.
    Dec 6, 2009
    5
    LOL @ the camera angles. There was literally not a single level frame in the entire film...I can get artsy camera angle choices...but when the same 45% angle is repeated with every frame it stops being a creative choice and starts being annoying.
Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    50
    Fans of "Henry Fool" in particular, however, may dislike the complete disregard for the characters of the original film. But the most fervent of Hartley followers can praise the film as a brilliant deconstruction of the tacked-on cinematic sequel.
  2. It's a rich idea -- a Hartley-esque variation on the theme of American Innocents Abroad. And it works superbly until -- well, Grim's the word.
  3. Hartley's kooky cosmopolitan caper can never be accused of slumming, but the shift from dry, offbeat wit to politically charged drama is a little jarring, to say the least; it's a bit like taking in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" and having it morph mid-way through into "Shadows and Fog."