It’s a harrowing and impressive accomplishment (especially considering potential government censorship), and it shows how, in its mad rush toward modernity, China has become a land of haves and have-nots, where income inequality and lack of opportunity have made a mockery of the nation’s purported ideals. Sound familiar?
Sorrentino’s storytelling sometimes seems deliberately obscure, and his film can be as indulgent as the society it chronicles. But as this existential odyssey draws to a close, it sews itself up with the aplomb that only a confident, controlled filmmaker can marshal.
Here's a movie that's jam-packed with bizarre sci-fi concepts, political allegory, a fascinating international cast and some truly over the top set pieces. But for just about everything maniacally cool in the movie, there's a flaw, sometimes a near-fatal one.
What makes Miss You Already work (when it does work, which is most of the time) is that it shows imperfect characters dealing imperfectly with situations ranging from the maritally frustrating to the existentially overwhelming.
Political machinations, emotional revelations, and a few well-choreographed fight scenes ensue, but Hou focuses less on the satisfactions of plot and action than on crafting, if not quite bringing to life, his auteurist vision of the past (both historical and cinematic).
The well-chosen supporting cast — Anthony Edwards as a test subject, Jim Gaffigan as one of Milgram's confederates, and especially Winona Ryder as Milgram's wife — help tremendously to keep The Experimenter humming along as entertainment rather than dry docudrama.