Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by David Gilman
Watching The Fall is like being a child again, reading your favorite bedtime story complete with vivid imagery and uniquely imagined characters. However, unlike most fairy tales, this one is viewed through the imagination of a disturbed child and told by a drug addict. The movie darkens as the story progresses. Despite this, the movie captures a series of highly imaginative and beautiful scenes in both the real world and the storyworld, from the tragic opening scene, to the final, dramatic duel in the little girl’s imagination.
The Fall is from the relatively unknown director, Tarsem Singh, for whom The Fall is his only real cinematic success. Despite a mostly lackluster showing in theatres, it is hailed by critics and movie lovers.
This plot is centred around a crippled and suicidal ex-stunt actor’s attempt to convince a young migrant worker girl named Alexandria to help feed his morphine addiction and eventually commit suicide. He does this through his telling of a mangled Spaghetti Western, which is what Alexandria imagines by filling in the characters of the story with people from the hospital in which they are staying. However, the story quickly becomes an avenue for the stunt actor, Roy, to express his frustrations about the people he perceives as having led to his destruction. It shows how Alexandria feels about individuals in the hospital depending on whether they are portrayed as good or evil in the story.
This extended metaphor intersects reality the most at the end when Roy’s despair enters the story as a series of dramatic character deaths. However, just as Alexandria exerts the only positive influence in his real life, so does her character, and she prevents the story from ending in absolute tragedy.
One of the most commonly cited flaws in the movie is its slow pace. However, this contributes to the plot buildup by making the ending more conclusive.
The Fall becomes a unique experience in the visuals. Computer generated images were barely used in the making of the film, instead traditional editing methods in amazing locations paired with excellent cinematography led to some of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen in a movie.
What makes the characters so rich and the story so engaging is the commendable performances of the actors, primarily those that play Roy and Alexandria. Roy is portrayed as a broken young man by Lee Pace, but this portrayal is not cliche, but nuanced. As Alexandria, Catinca Untaru’s performance is also impressive, and the gamut of emotions Alexandria goes through are all well displayed.
Any movie lover should see this movie for it’s cinematography, but even more casual viewers will enjoy the unique visuals and nuanced characters.
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