You know those dreams you have that have all sorts of amazing things happening that look beautiful and poetic, like a storybook fairytale, but none of it necessarily makes any sense? Yeah, that’s kinda what “The Fall” is like. Wait, wait…no, that’s what “The Cell” is like.
Of course, both of these films were directed by Tarsem Singh. And they are similar in that they are both strongest as visually arresting films, but somehow lack something in their stories. “The Fall”, however, is significantly better than “The Cell”, which I found average at best. It was purely eye candy to me. That movie was just a big music video. And who can really buy Jennifer Lopez as a psychotherapist?
“The Fall” is the story of a 1920’s stunt man named Roy in a hospital that, in order to entertain a young girl with a broken arm, weaves a fantastic tale of adventure. He includes various people from the hospital and even her life to make it more vivid. The rub is, does he tell this story merely to entertain the girl, or is there another reason?
Again, the visuals and cinematography are beautiful in this film, sometimes even breath-taking. The locations are vast and exotic. So much so, that while the end credits rolled some of the audience members, including myself, gave out a laugh as the absurdly long list of locations kept mounting. I lost count of all the countries to which they sent a film crew, but it was at least nine or so. But this is certainly to its credit, because I saw places I’ve never seen on film before and each one fit the weaving fable beautifully.
The core story is actually rather trite, but because of the execution they made something plain into something more interesting. The way it unfolds makes it more emotionally moving than it would be otherwise. I don’t want to give too much away because it would kind of be spoiling, but let’s say there’s a boy-loses-girl story in here.
The down sides are that despite a rather even and competent group of actors, I found the tone of the performances a little, well, dare I say, “goofy”? Much of the time it’s not a problem. You just have to keep in mind that this Roy, played by Lee Pace (from the TV show “Pushing Daisies”), is telling a story to a five year old girl, so some of the acting feels like it’s right from a children’s book.
And the little girl has an accent that sometimes makes it a little hard to understand her. I think I missed at least a few words of what she said a couple times. She spoke too fast, and mumbled through a few lines. Otherwise, she was fine.
The fable part was a little bit “Wizard of Oz”, a little bit “Adventures of Baron Munchausen”, mixed with a dramatic story of a man with a romantic heart. Or who may just be a big cry-baby, depending on your point of view.
I think I liked this movie. Definitely worth a matinee if you want to just relax for two hours on a hot afternoon – and the big screen factor is high on this.
Ok, see you at a showing of “Indiana Jones IV” which hopefully won’t be a punch in the face by Lucas, Spielberg and Ford.
– Neil Weakley, your average movie-goer with his fingers crossed.