Ken's Review: The Fall - Much More Than Eye Candy
by Ken Evans
May 30, 2008
When I first saw a trailer for The Fall, I'm sure everyone thought the same as I did. I thought it was going to be another movie by director/writer Tarsem Singh that looks amazing, but has a crappy story. The only reason I finished watching The Cell was because of all of the great visuals, which still barely kept me from turning it off. Even so, I decided to give The Fall a chance, mostly because it looked beautifully shot, but fully expected a repeat of my experience viewing The Cell. Instead, I was blown away by not only the cinematography, which far exceeded my expectations, but also by the well-rounded and unique story that Tarsem presents. This is a fantastic film!
Roy Walker (Lee Pace) was injured performing a stunt for a new silent film. He ends up being hospitalized and while there meets a young girl named Alexandria (Catinca Untaru). Roy is in a deep state of depression and starts to tell Alexandria an epic story in order to get her to do things for him, namely steal morphine from the hospital pharmacy. As the story goes on, we start to see similarities between the tale he is telling Alexandria and aspects of his own life.
The relationship between Roy and Alexandria is something I'm sure every director dreams of being able to have. There is chemistry between the two actors that feels so genuine. I felt like I was transported into the film every time they were on screen together. Never once did they break the perfect connection that they were able to establish. Lee Pace is turning out to be an excellent actor. I enjoyed him immensely in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and the TV show "Pushing Daises". His range shines here in The Fall, where one second we can see him smiling with the little girl and the next he is having a fit of rage with the doctors - absolutely brilliant.
Not enough can be said about Catinca Untaru. She is only 11 years old and has an uncanny acting ability. You can't find many actors that age who are able to portray so much emotion without saying anything. She is the star of the film and pulls off an outstanding performance that rivals just about anything else I have seen this year.
Although half the film is Roy telling Alexandria this epic story, there is really no difference between the story he is telling and what is happening in the real world. Tarsem does a magnificent job of using symbolism and metaphors in the tale Roy is telling to help explain why Roy is the way he is. I can't remember the last time I had to concentrate so hard in a film to totally understand it all. This is not the type of movie that you can just sit back and soak in its beauty. It has an extremely heavy story that is chock full of humor, action, drama, romance, hope and tragedy. Shut off your mind, even for a minute, and you might miss something.
Visually the best parts of the movie are during the scenes where Roy is telling the story and we get to experience an epic tale being played out before us. These scenes were a perfect compliment to the heart of the film being told in the real world. The transitions between the two worlds were great as they would many times involve a melding of the two. Some event would happen in the real world and would get carried over to the fictional story and take place there as well, anything from pills being spilled to Roy falling asleep. The story being told was completely dependent on what Roy was experiencing and was visually realized through the imagination of Alexandria.
Some people are just not going to enjoy this movie. They will call it artsy or pretentious and declare it as confusing and jumbled. I totally disagree. This was a wonderfully deep film with purpose and beauty. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to everyone I know. If you are thinking about seeing it, just know that it is a heavy movie that requires thought while watching it. This isn't a fantasy action film that is just fun to watch. It is a movie whose visual beauty is only matched by the beauty within its story.