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Fantastic Fest capsule review: EVERLY

Joe Gross
jgross@statesman.com

Is Salma Hayek getting smaller or is her hair just getting bigger? Is it 50/50? Her spectacular mane should probably get its own credit in “Everly,” a Tarantino-esque shoot-‘em-up that seems ripe for a videogame adaptation.

It’s Christmas time (very Shane Black, that) and Everly (Hayek) is a hooker who is basically an apartment-bound sex-slave to the Asian mob in general and one mobster in particular. She never leaves her apartment but at least she knows her mother and daughter are safe.

But things are not going well for our heroine. She sold out her boss and lover Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe) and started ratting to the cops. Taiko didn’t take this well and put out a hit on her. Which she knows, hence the panic overtakes her, espeically when Taiko lets her know he mom and daughter are doomed. And everyone who knows where she is parked shows up with a gun and a “hey, it’s just business” type-attitude, including a mess of her hooker pals, all with a different theme look (schoolgirl, dom, etc.)

Directed by Joe Lynch with a screenplay by Yale Hannon, “Everly” rarely moves from her apartment, shooting it to tiny pieces instead. When Everly does finally get out of them, she moves in textbook videogam fashion: this is movie as first person shooter, then moves awfully close to torture porn when she is captured by a older fellow with a fondness for being a “makeup artist” with acid and gasoline, which makes for the film’s goriest sequence.

In spite of the hooker hook and some Asian badguys that feel awfully close to “yellow peril” in spots, “Everly” is interesting in that it’s the action vehicle for Hayek that Robert Rodriguez never really gave her. Your move, Robert.