Wednesday, September 10, 2008

MOVIE: THE FALL



The Fall is a 2006 film by Tarsem Singh, starring Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru, and Justine Waddell. It is based on the screenplay for the 1981 film Yo Ho Ho by Valeri Petrov.

Unable to free himself from his sterile confines, the immobile patient's deepest fears form the basis of a dark story that he shares with his young companion -- a little girl who visits his room as she recovers from a nasty fall. As the eerie tale unfolds, reality and fantasy gradually merge to form a strange world in which anything is possible.




Tarsem took a lot of crap for The Cell, which I thought was a really good movie, but which I know has it's following of haters including my mom who walked out of the theater. However, even the haters can't dispute the fact that it is one of the best looking movies ever put to film. After 8 years, Tarsem is back with The Fall, a movie that took him most of that time to make. You can tell that he had full control over this movie and rightfully so since he put most of his own money into it. If you hated The Cell for it's really dark and depressing visuals, then you shouldn't have a problem with The Fall. Tarsem uses his same types of techniques for more beautiful imagery here.

The movie has a story within a story. The man and the little girl both in the same hospital is the real world. The other story is a fantasy which exists in the little girl's head as the man tells it to her. However, this isn't a Mother Goose story. A revenge fantasy that takes place in a world with vast deserts and palaces that float on water. This is where Tarsem uses most of his imagery that was created, although it may not seem like it, not with computer graphics but with traditional filmmaking techniques. That means the elephant swimming in the ocean is real, or seems like it is anyway. That means the scenes towards the end, with the unending labyrinths and explosions, are all real. It is a feast for the eyes and one of the best looking films ever.

However, if the two stories in the movie or even just one of the them weren't that good, then the movie would just be good based on its visuals. Some liked the story in The Cell but didn't like its visuals or vice versa. In The Fall, both of its stories are really well done. The best one and the most emotional is the one based in the real world. The man in the hospital wants to kill himself and the little girl with the broken arm just wants to listen to the man tell a story. No bad child acting here. Untaru, as the little girl, performs some of the best child acting I have ever seen. The fact that she is a 5 year old Romanian who speaks kind of good english in her first film role ever doesn't seem to be a problem. Pace is very good here also and there are scenes where Tarsem seems to just let the camera keep rolling while Untaru and Pace just talk to each other in dialogue that seems unrehearsed and natural.

Part of the reason why Tarsem doesn't seem to get a lot of respect is because he comes from a TV commercial and music video background. It is how he got his start and made his way into movies. He brings that background into the two films that he has made so far and I guess that bothers some people. Some people just don't want their movies to look like a TV commercial. I don't see whats so wrong with it though. After all, we have viewed many memorable commercials over the years and there are music videos that we will never forget. So why not a two hour movie with a really good story using those same elements? At the beginning of the film it says Spike Jonze and David Fincher presents. Just like it says Quentin Tarantino presents on all those cheesy straight to DVD movies at the video store. Some people seem to forget that Jonze and Fincher also got their start in commercials and music videos. Just like Tarantino got his start working at a video store.

THE FALL: 9 OUT OF 10

The DVD features audio commentary; deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.


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