Fay Grim

Film
2 out of 5 stars
HEROINE CHIC Posey models the latest spy fashions.
HEROINE CHIC Posey models the latest spy fashions.

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Nine years can make an awfully big difference, especially if, like Fay Grim (Posey), your MIA outlaw-author husband is wanted for associating with known terrorists. Or, for that matter, if you’re Hal Hartley, once the great white hope of the Amer-indie scene. A master at combining deadpan philosophical dissertations and pomo takes on puppy love, Hartley reached his zenith in 1997, when Henry Fool achieved art-house crossover status. After that, his work—and his fans—began to suffer. Returning to the scene of his triumph could reawaken a comatose sense of purpose. That, or come off as one more nail in the career coffin.

Regrettably, this sequel to Henry Fool is much closer to the latter. You can see traces of the old Hartley in the confused jumble of plot strands—an absurdist wink here, a funny exchange there (“Avant-garde poetry is becoming less popular in America.” [Long pause] “Really?”). Yet recycling espionage-a-go-go conventions while namechecking global conflicts doesn’t shed light on any state we’re in; it just feels fatigued. Granted, you can’t dismiss the pleasure of an Irma Vepped Posey vamping around Paris. But iconic voguing can’t sustain a film, nor can it make up for the feeling that Hartley’s golden touch may be gone for good. (Opens Fri; IFC Center.) — David Fear

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