Ken's Review: The Fall - Much More Than Eye Candy

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 five mythical heroes gather in a scene from Tarsem Singh's The Fall.The Fall Review

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.

One of the visually stunning scenes from Tarsem Singh's The Fall.The Fall Review

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.

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Im seeing it tomorrow, cant wait!!!

REAL6 on May 30, 2008


Will definitely check this one out! I was lucky enough to see The Cell in a theatre, and it was fantastic. Unlike many, I didn't think the story was all that bad. It was an interesting twist on the police procedural, if nothing more.

kitano0 on May 30, 2008


Couldn't agree more with you, Ken. After eating so much of summer's popcorn, it was such a pleasure to have the fillet mignon. Aside from the wild visuals, Catinca Untaru was just amazing. Where most child actors are cute (Abigail Breslin), Catinca was true, there's not a trace of play-acting in the role. Her relation ship with Lee Pace wasn't a good performance, it was simply a real relationship. The director was at the screening I went to. When he found Catinca she could barely speak English, but by the end of production--because of listening to Tarsem--she picked up English with an Indian accent. Another boggling thing about the film is how almost all of the exotic places and visuals are REAL. Rather than CGI, Tarsem traveled around the world for four years, camping in the desert and whatnot to get all those shots. He claimed he spent 24 years "location scouting." It paid off.

Bradford on May 30, 2008


Alrighty then, I'm adding this to my list! 🙂 No telling when it'll open in my little podunk town though.

kevjohn on May 30, 2008


Going to check this out tonight, I can't wait!

robotplague on May 30, 2008


ooh, can't wait to watch this.. and maybe I'll catch Indy while I'm at it.

Alfredo on May 30, 2008


I wanna see it but dont even know where I can, I think I'll have to wait for the DVD, BTW you guys should do a DVD feature.

Richard on May 30, 2008


I loved it.. I saw it yesterday and loved it.. the transitions from the butterfly to the island and form the priest to the sand dune scenes were amazing.. and the shots of the blue city were just breathtaking.

CSpuppydog on Jun 1, 2008


This has to be the one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. I wish it had wider distribution, it deserves to be seen on the huge fancy screens. But go see it if you can. It is a beautiful, amazing film.

Melissa on Jun 4, 2008


I was surprised, eventually blown away and taken away by this film. What a treat... what a ride! Due to the reviews I had read i was expecting something very different; (I have not seen the Cell, so i didn;t have that as a reference,) i thought it would be a trippy visual feast, somewhat disconnected and wild, audacious. It is that but so much more as well. At no time did i feel the story was being sacrificed to the visual. The story was convoluted and complex but held together with its own internal logic. All in all totally compelling... i'm telling all my friends to see it ....

michael on Jun 8, 2008


i completely adored this film! it was visually stunning and the story just was beautiful. i agree that there was a great chemistry between Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru.

HFC on Oct 26, 2008

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