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THE FALL (2008) **** DVD review by SEBASTIAN

Posted on September 25th, 2008
Posted on September 25th, 2008

Perhaps “The Fall” is a film best enjoyed by photographers, painters, and most importantly surrealists. I think I may have some sort of favoritism towards a film like this just because it plays up these elements so very well.

When director Tarsem Singh’s first movie “The Cell” hit screens in 2000, I was first in line. The trailers looked vivid and beautifully dark, and the storyline had me hooked. I wasn’t disappointed at all. That film was truly visionary.

I would like nothing more than to tell you that “The Fall” is the masterpiece is should be, but I can’t quite sum it up that way. Its very good and there are indeed many moments of absolute genius. Unfortunately, there are also some problems with the script and the logic of the film. Ultimately the film soars through the first 2/3’s of its running time(which flies by) and then falls prey to some very overt and awkward sentimentality. This was one of the few problems “The Cell” had as well.

The story concerns the relationship between Roy and Alexandria, two patients in a hospital in 1920’s L.A. Roy forms a relationship with the little girl(who has only a rudimentary grasp of English) In order to further his own secret motivations. In order to earn her trust he tells her an utterly absurd epic story that would indeed capture the heart of any imaginative child. As the film progresses, we learn more and more about Roy and the secret desires of his broken heart, which drive him to lie and manipulate.

The film is at its best when we are following the completely two-dimensional and wooden characters of Roy’s story. This is where Tarsem and Director of Photography Colin Watikinson truly unleash their prowess as movie painters, weaving one complex sight gag and surreal situation with another. Here the viewer becomes free from the restraints of real cause and effect and becomes ensnared in the vivid workings of a fevered and fantastic mental dreamscape. I loved the adventure of these over the top bandits on a quest for victory against the vile villian who has wronged them all in various ways. The problems come when we return to reality.

Its not that Tarsem doesn’t do a knock-up job with the relationship of Roy and Alexandria. Indeed I felt very attached to the both of them. It was the contrast between the two worlds of the film that threw me off just a bit. This too is in keeping with “The Cell”. We are swept away to Never-never land time and time again, only to have to take periodic breaks in the very mundane real world. I understand that is what the story concerns, but I just wish we could see some variety in the types of stories Tarsem picks.

One small gripe I had that I think is of concern is that you couldn’t understand some of the lines at times. I found myself rewinding more than a few times to figure out what someone just said.

Overall my gripes are small until the ending, when Tarsem again gives into a sappy overlong scene of character exposition that should have been given to us earlier in the movie, if it was going to be given at all. A small thing overall though, because this is truly a film that captures the sense of cinema in a way we don’t often see.

I look forward to another film by Tarsem. Imagine a Pirates of the Caribbean type of movie directed by this guy. That would be awesome. You listening Bruckheimer?

4 out of 5 stars

Here’s the trailer(which is pretty cool too)

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