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Despite gripping visuals, 'Every Thing' is boggy and foggy

Despite gripping visuals, 'Every Thing' is boggy and foggy
A scene from "Everything Will Be Fine." (Metropole)

Despite assurances to the contrary, Wim Wenders' "Every Thing Will Be Fine" turns out to be a frustratingly distancing drama that fails to capitalize on its compelling 3D cinematography.

James Franco, in a self-consciously insular performance, plays a tortured Montreal writer who becomes even more so when a wintry car accident results in the death of a young boy.

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Although blameless for the tragedy, he is, nevertheless, unable to extricate himself from a crippling guilt that takes its toll on his relationships (Rachel McAdams and Marie-Josée Croze), ultimately leading to an odd bond with the dead child's mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg).

Thematically reminiscent of Atom Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter," the film, penned by Norwegian Bjorn Olaf Johannessen, gets bogged down by the achingly oppressive tone, not to mention the distracting smorgasbord of international accents satisfying the co-production requirements of five participating countries.

While Wenders, whose previous adventure in 3D filmmaking was the Oscar-nominated 2011 dance documentary "Pina," uses Benoit Debie's textured, constantly probing-camera work to penetrating effect, the visually stirring format proves unable to lift the story and performances out of a prevailing, airless stupor.

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"Every Thing Will Be Fine." 

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills

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