Director: Tarsem Singh
Year : 2002
Genre: Adventure | Fantasy | Drama
Official Website: http://www.thefallthemovie.com/
Recommended Link: A Cinematographic journey by Evan E. Richards at http://evanerichards.com/2009/22
Verdict: Must Watch
Once in a while, a movie come along, that make you gasp at the exquisite craftsmanship, and their beauty even shed a little tear in appreciation and satisfaction. The satisfaction of having discovered a brilliant and rare gem.
The movie opens to a stunning monochromatic sequence against the perfectly synced background score of Beethoven’s 7th symphony. This serves as the prelude to understanding the accident Roy suffered, and gives us a subtle introduction to the various participants in the tale that is to soon unfold.
The movie is set in the early 1920’s era of silent films. Roy Wallace, a stuntman, is bed-ridden with an injury, and possible loss of the functioning of his legs. Alexandria, a girl with a broken arm, is also in the children’s ward in the same hospital. And a chance encounter between the two, sets the course for the narration of an Epic where 5 heroes: a silent Indian warrior, an ex-slave, an explosive expert Luigi, a surreal version of Darwin, and a masked bandit unite to bring down a treacherous ruler – Odious.
Roy gets close to Alexandria weaving this magnificent tale using people, and things, from around them in the hospital. Alexandria’s innocent mind and vivid imagination also help him in building characters and plots in the story. Roy, although affectionate towards Alexandria, has an ulterior motive. To get Alexandria’s help in sourcing morphine so that he can commit suicide since his lover is now with the very actor for whom he performed the stunt.
In a bid to help her friend Roy, Alexandria suffers a serious accident while trying to retrieve a bottle of morphine. She undergoes surgery, and this event makes Roy realize his folly, his cowardice, and he finally decides to end the story with despair and loss, just like in his real life. Alexandria not liking the sadness and the death of the heroes also makes her own appearance as the daughter of the masked bandit. Between her tears, Alexandria tries her best to make the Epic a happy one where not all the heroes die in vain.
The Fall is based on Yo Ho Ho, a 1981 Bulgarian film directed by Valerie Petrov.
Catinca Untaru, as Alexandria, is a treat to watch. Her fidgety mannerism, broken English, and her broken toothed smile are endearing and infectious. A lot of her lines and reactions were unscripted. In fact her real error in reading E as 3 was incorporated as a key twist in the story.
Lee Pace, as Roy Wallace, plays his character to near perfection, and his expressive eyes are convincing in the pain he is undergoing.
But the real hero of this film is Tarsem Singh for his vision and putting his soul out there in bringing his dream to realization. 4 years, shooting over 18 countries and nearly 30 locations, and with no special effects, Tarsem Singh gave us his dream intrguingly visualized by Cinematographer Colin Watkinson. It was a real shame that The Fall was shunned by the Academy.
The Fall is a movie made by an artist, who uses the world’s most stunning places to paint a masterpiece. Imagery so powerful that it is bound to take your breath away several times. The Fall is a labor of love and you can see the passion that has gone into making this movie. And even though the film may not have a very gripping story, the entire assemblage leaves you deeply satisfied, and leaves you with brilliant, unforgettable images to cherish forever.
The Good: Must watch for the sheer brilliant cinematography, mesmerizing locations, and the beautiful contrast between the innocence of Catinca Untaru and the fractured, convoluted mind of Lee Pace.
The Not So Good: The plot loses grip at times and thins down a little towards the latter half of the movie.
The Verdict: Must Watch!