The film itself is lovely, after the style of Anderson but with softer edges and more welcome split screens. The use of the splits is cinematically reflective of the story. That’s the real star here, though most folks focus on the comedic cops.
So, what we have is a movie about a movie about a play about a book about a crime that factors in all layers. The maker of the movie we see is both our traditional noir character and the first victim, in possibly the cleverest opening to a film I’ve ever seen. (I’ve seen many.) In this, he also specifies the end, and in the middle is visited in a space outside the film between viewer and character.
There are a few silly jokes about the self-reference. One character suggests that perhaps all the suspects are ‘in on it’. Agatha washes dishes for inspiration. Dentists are referenced. But it is the structure that matters.
And for that I celebrate what could be a new mode in what I call ‘folding’, where the film structurally moves the viewer around in different relationships to the story. It may not have even been noticed, which is the highest complement.
The detective story begat noir which begat complex folding, so it is especially delicious to not just go back to the source, but literally the actual author and her most prominent work. Now it is time to see this sophistication in a thriller.
Posted in 2022
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.