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Saturday, August 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 75.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily
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Fay Grim at the 2007 Wisconsin Film Festival
Hal Hartley's irresistible sequel to Henry Fool screened Friday at the Orpheum
<i>Fay Grim</i>
Fay Grim

Deeeee-lishus. I savored Fay Grim throughout its screening on Friday night amidst a large and enthusiastic audience at the Orpheum Theatre.

Writer-director Hal Hartley's 2006 sequel to Henry Fool is an escalating series of exaggerated implausibilities that prove as irresistible as Parker Posey's turn in the title role. Like the rest of the cast, she counters the implausibles with an over-the-top, wink-wink deadpan tone that sucks in viewers who are able to suspend their disbelief and surrender to this wild ride of a comic espionage thriller.

As Grim, Posey finds herself embroiled in an ever-deepening vortex of agents and counter-agents of suspect allegiance, all in pursuit of the notebooks of her vanished ex-husband, Henry Fool. Even Jeff Goldblum downplays his usual caricature of himself to find the sweet spot as Agent Fulbright.

After Hartley's tightly crafted script, which is rich in sly references of varying obscurity, it's the ensemble supporting cast that makes Fay Grim such a delight: There is a distinctive personality behind each face, each with its own appeal.

Perhaps most delicious of all is the fact that Fay Grim, like Henry Fool, ends with a soft conclusion of ellipses that suggest the plot, like real life, continues even though the camera has stopped filming -- leaving viewers to wonder what happens to everyone after the credits roll.

Four thumbs up on a five-thumb scale.

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