Fay Grim

Hal Hartley's fall from fashion seems to correspond to his shift away from emulating 60s Godard and toward more ambitious contemporary satire (though his underrated The Girl From Monday managed to balance the two). Shot in New York, Berlin, Paris, and Istanbul, this sequel to Henry Fool (1997) is a cloak-and-dagger pastiche that sometimes asks to be taken halfway straight as it comments on American paranoia toward the Muslim world. The involved backstory and Hartley's own generic music both prove burdensome; the main attraction is the cast's amusing way of handling Hartley's mannerist dialogue and conceits. With Parker Posey, James Urbaniak, Saffron Burrows, and Jeff Goldblum, occasionally hilarious as a CIA operative. 118 min.

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