The Fall

The Fall is the second feature movie by Tarsem Singh and like his first (The Cell starring Jennifer Lopez and, in a serious role, Vince Vaughan) it is incredible looking. Now when I say incredible looking I mean this is the kind of film that you buy on the newest digital medium simply to showcase it. This is the Scarlett Johanson of visuals. The Aston Martin Vanquish. The art design and cinematic framing is simply like nothing else out there from the Western world (the closest I can think of is the stunning Ying Xiong) and, according to IMDB, all locations were, shockingly, real and not sets (this I’m not certain about but it’s genuinely stunning either way).

The story follows a little girl (Catinca Untaru) as she is told a story by injured stuntman Roy Walker (Lee Pace) within a hospital. This gives Singh the excuse to play out the story as a fairy tale and he really goes for it. The characters are amazing, they look brilliant and the events unfold in a magnificent Arabian Nights style. However we soon realise in the real world Catinca is actually being decieved and the story is just to trick her to steal morphine for Roy.

For two acts The Fall is simply wonderful. It, as mentioned earlier, looks wonderful and the performances are fantastic (the chemistry between the two main characters is excellent). However the brilliance of the story segments begin to take their toll on the movie and it ultimately becomes imbalanced. About two thirds into the film I started to become frustrated with the ‘real’ events and simply wanted the film to return to the ‘story’ section. More characters were introduced to explain the behaviour of Lee Pace’s character but never fully explored to the point they just come across as filler.

This is such a shame as what could have been a Princess Bride is unfortunatly more of a Baron Munchausen. Beautiful touches like the old man’s secret word and the way the little girl interprets the concept of an Indian compared to how the stuntman does (as somebody from India instead of the intended native American) add up to some magnificent moments but the complete package just fails to reach the dizzying heights it initially promises. Kinda like The Cell then really…

3 out of 5

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