Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Quickie: The Fall

The Fall

Release: 05.09.08
DVD Release: 09.09.08
Rated R
1 hour, 57 minutes

Full Price ($$$$) <
>Matinee ($$$)

Remember that Jennifer Lopez film, The Cell? I didn't think much of the story, J. Lo's believability as a psychotherapist or Vince Vaughn's tortured yet creepy Agent Novak. Given all that, you'd be surprised to learn that The Cell is in my DVD collection. It resides on my shelf because I am still mesmerized by the beautiful direction of Tarsem Singh. The bizarre dreamscape Tarsem creates -the vibrant colors, wonderful imagery- are reason enough to warrant repeat viewings.

Eight years later, Tarsem has found a far more endearing canvas with The Fall. Set in a California hospital in the 1920s, the story follows an absolutely adorable little girl, Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), as she pokes her nose, and broken arm, in whatever nook or cranny she can find. One such cranny houses an dentured, elderly old man, a hypochondriac, and a recently paralyzed stuntman named Roy (Lee Pace, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day). An instant spark develops between Alexandria and Roy. He enchants her with a grandiose tale of five mythic heroes, whom she imagines as even more fantastical than he describes. Roy withholds the tale's conclusion from Alexandria, bartering for medications that she can steal from the pharmacy. As the reality and fantasy merge, their relationship is strained to its limits.

Did I mention that Catinca Untaru is impossibly cute?! Tarsem has said he scoured the world looking for the perfect child. I think his patience paid off. Lee Pace is similarly compelling as the tragic Roy. I also found comfort that Alexandria's imagined heroes were lifted from her hospital surroundings in a sort of Wizard of Oz tribute. Tarsem excels at crafting a visual masterpiece, and does so with no special effects. If you watch this, you will find it difficult to believe such a thing of beauty is possible, especially in our current age of CGI over saturation.

I found the tale as striking emotionally as it was visually. Marilyn of Ferdy on Films, etc. had the pleasure of attending a Q&A session with Tarsem after viewing The Fall and gives a far more elegant and thorough critique than I could ever muster. I highly recommend you check it out if this film interests you.

The larger the screen available, the better the enjoyment of The Fall's spectacular imagery. But no screen, no matter how large, can hold the emotional wallop the film lands.

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  1. Thanks for the quick review. The Fall is in my rent list as one that looked intriguing, and this just makes it more so!

  2. You can't go wrong if you like gorgeous films.

  3. Bless your heart, RW. I wish everyone had a chance to meet Tarsem. He's very engaging, the total opposite of a prima donna director.

    BTW, I didn't like the set-up of The Cell much. I've had it "up to here" with superhumanly deranged men preying on women. I couldn't watch it.

  4. The few times I've watched The Cell since that first viewing has been solely for the visuals. I don't think I can stomach the story again.

    What tops your list of worst films with "deranged men preying on women" aside from The Cell?

  5. Just peeping your blog. I come by way of Invisible Woman...Black Cinema, etc. ;) Anyhoo, I absolutely LOVED this film. It's now one of my favorites. I fell in love with the little girl; with Lee Pace, heck with Tarsem. A great, great film. :)

  6. Thanks for stopping by madame z!

    The Fall was great and that girl was almost too adorable for words. I'd love to see Tarsem involved a high profile actioner on par with Sin City or Kill Bill. I wonder what he could do with it?

  7. "The Fall", is my favorite film of the year...
    The last half was very moving and emotional...
    The film has a truly surprising scene, that is hard to shake after viewing...


    This film has NOTHING to do with "The Cell", so there is no need to watch it before seeing "The Fall"...

  8. @790- Oh yes, forget the Cell...I wish I could.

    I loved the look of Cell but now that The Fall satisfies the visual and story aspects amazingly, who cares about the Cell.