Rabid Reviews: The Fall

Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Screenplay by: Dan Gilroy, Nico Soultanakis, and Tarsem Singh
Running Time: 117 minutes
Rated: R

Main Characters: Catinca Untaru, Lee Pace, Justine Waddell, Daniel Caltagirone, Marcus Wesley, Robin Smith, Jeetu Verma, Kim Uylenbroek, Leo Bill, Emil Hostina

This film is a beautifully told tail of imagination, and redemption. The opening scene was filmed in black and white, put in slow motion, and set to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Absolutely wonderful opening to a truly magical movie. Little does the viewer know that it is actually the events leading up to what happens in the film. The opening scene depicts a movie being filmed, and the stuntman, Roy (Lee Pace), performing a dangerous stunt to impress his girlfriend. The stunt goes wrong when he falls, breaking his legs, and landing him in a hospital. There he meets a young girl, Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), also there because of a fall, whom he befriends and begins to tell a colossal fairytale.

It is a tale of six men: a slave, an Indian, an explosives expert, Charles Darwin, a masked bandit, and a mystic; who each in their own right have set out to kill the evil Governor Odious. As Roy tells the story it is shown through the imagination of Alexandria, who in turn, uses people from her own life to depict each character. Thus, giving several characters dual roles much like The Wizard of Oz. Being that it was seen through her eyes, some of the details are fit to what she would imagine. Such as the Indian was supposed to be a Native American Indian, but she envisions him as a man from India. Roy’s story also reflects the way he is feeling about his life during the scenes.

Ultimately, although he genuinely likes Alexandria, he is using the story to coax her into stealing Morphine for him so that he can end his life. He’s just lost his girlfriend who left him for the star of the movie he was performing the stunt for, and he’s very depressed and suicidal. As the lines between the enchanting tale he is weaving and reality begin to blur, Alexandria herself begins to take part in the story and helps to cultivate the direction the ending takes.

The movie was filmed on location in more than eighteen different countries around the world, and took four years to film. It was written and directed by Tarsem Singh, also known for, The Cell. It was premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, and was released to limited audiences. The theatrical release in 2008 was presented by David Fincher (Fight Club), and Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation). The scenery, panoramic views, and use of color in the movie were absolutely breathtaking! Largely financed by Tarsem, himself, he was able to make the movie what he had envisioned for it. There was one scene in particular, where Roy was telling Alexandria of Alexander the Great. It was filmed in the desert, with the backdrop of the golden dunes contrasted with the bright blue sky, and the stark red coloring the in the soldiers uniforms…it was some of the most gorgeous use of color and scenery that I have ever seen. He took a mostly bland scenario or view, and turned it into a masterpiece. All of the scenes were filmed in this way, but that one just sticks out in my mind.

As far as the characters go, they couldn’t have been better cast. Little Catinca Untaru who played Alexandria, was the most adorable little girl. This was the Romanian child actors first film, and an awe-inspiring start to what will most likely be a long and acclaimed career. She was still in the process of learning English while the movie was filming and sometimes didn’t understand what Pace’s character was saying to her. It lent to the charm of the dynamic between the two. Her speaking parts were mostly unscripted or loosely scripted. Tarsem, used her lack of understanding and her childish wonder and awe at the story to create the realism of the relationship between the two characters. She wasn’t told what was going to happen in the story beforehand and learned as the movie progressed. Also, for the first seven months of filming, Catinca believed that Lee Pace was actually wheelchair bound and unable to walk. I loved that Tarsem went in this direction for the movie because it created an innocence to Catinca’s acting and reactions to her co-star and the fairytale aspect of the film. I was very impressed.

Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls) did an absolutely remarkable job bringing two characters to life. His interactions with Catinca brought out the best in her abilities. He presented a realism in his character’s depression that we all have been able to relate to at some point in our lives. He was absolutely marvelous and I will be checking out Pushing Daisies because of his character’s portrayal in this movie.

I can’t believe that this movie wasn’t more widely advertised. It truly was a sleeper hit. It was a story about the redemptive powers of magnificent story telling. The only word I could use to describe it is, transcendent! You have got to check it out! Take my word for it, you will not be disappointed.

No comments:

Post a Comment