Comments on watching and making films.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Fall

The last most people saw of director Tarsem Singh (apparently, now, going only by his first name), was The Cell. And while that film had its issues (though, in my opinion, issues easily looked over), it was still a stunning vision brought to a life by a very talented and visionary individual. 

Well, now Tarsem is back, thanks to the likes of David Fincher and Spike Jonze, who saw a copy of the floundering The Fall, and used some of their pull to make sure the film saw the light of day. While I'm not sure what the exact story is behind it, I know that The Fall has been around for a few years, but for some reason, was never picked up by distributors.

The Fall concerns a little girl by the name of Alexandria, who is convalescing in a hospital for a broken arm, in early turn of the century Los Angeles. When a note she is trying to pass on to a nurse lands in the hands of another patient, she is quick to try to retrieve the special message she had written for her favorite nurse. The man who has the note is an ex-Hollywood stuntman, who, after an on set accident, has been left paralyzed from the waste down. The little girl begins to bond with the man, who's name is Roy, and Roy begins telling her a story about far away places, bandits, prince's and princess's and evil rulers who seek to destroy the good people. Eventually, though, it is revealed that Roy is using the story as a way to get Alexandria hooked, so that her need to hear the end of Roy's tale, ensures that she will do what Roy asks her.

The Fall, like The Cell, is visually stunning, but unlike its predecessor, it also has a much more accessible story line. This feels like a film that, minus some graphic violence, you could easily bring your kids to. It's enjoyable on, pretty much, all levels, by all ages, and I can't imagine anyone that it leaves out. With spot on cinematography, an amazing stop motion sequence, pitch perfect acting, and perfect art direction, The Fall is about as close to a perfect movie as you can get. Of particular note is the young girl who plays Alexandria, Cantica Untaru, who gives one of the most amazing and authentic performances by a child actor that I have ever seen in my entire life. I don't know whether they improved around her, or she actually developed all of those inflections and pauses and emotions... If she did develop all of those on her own, she could easily be considered a genius at acting.

The Fall, to me, is a great example of how, given a chance, a film that may seem a little "out there", can win over an audience by feeding its most basic needs. The Fall is like a well balanced meal - equal parts that fill you up, and give you what you need, with no useless leftovers.

1 comment:

Stephen Schuster said...

Glad you got to see it. Was going to email you about it the other night and tell you how amazing it was.