FILM RATING: 3.5 stars
The Fall (2006) is a film that really surprised me when I recently saw it in HD. And there’s just one reason I watched The Fall: Director Tarsem Singh, the mastermind behind The Cell (2000). I was blown away with The Cell ten years ago, and still get chills when I see it today. Singh is a cinematic visionary, bringing very unique visual storytelling techniques to his work. I can’t compare The Fall to really any other movie I’ve seen. It stands on its own, other than in comparison to Singh’s first feature film The Cell. And this is a totally different film in terms of story. But visually it has the same incredible production design, cinematography, costumes and makeup, and style.
I’m not going to discuss the plot and story of The Fall because the film is best viewed with an open mind like when you were a child excitedly listening to a bedtime story for the first time. And ironically, that basically is the story! While I did find The Fall a little slow in its pace at times and predictable, the visual smorgasbord is so enticing that it makes up for the shortcomings of the story. You simply shift your attention away from the slow pace of the story to the details and beauty within it, wondering how it was all conceptualized and created for you to see. Or at least that was the experience for me.
Actor Lee Pace, probably most well known for his starring role in the short-lived TV series Pushing Daisies, is at his best in The Fall. I don’t often talk about a guy’s eyes, but Pace’s eyes are simply mesmerizing in this film. And there’s a breadth of emotion and humor that he conveys, mostly on his face, that blew me away. While I saw Pace on an episode of Pushing Daisies and thought he was a decent enough actor there, it’s The Fall where he really shines the brightest so far. Scenes where he is acting with actress Catinca Untaru, the young girl in the story, are so touching, funny and emotionally appealing that I kept wanting the movie to stay focused on them the whole time.
The Fall is a film that has stuck with me since I first saw it a few months ago and I doubt I will ever forget it, much like The Cell. It’s just such uniquely great filmmaking so outside the Hollywood-box that it reminds me of the shear unlimited possibilities of storytelling within movies. It captures the playfulness of a Disney or Pixar animated feature, but in dramatic live action. It’s a heart-warming, soulful film that captures the imagination of a child. While it’s rated R, it felt like a kid’s fantasy movie to me. I guess you could say it’s for the kid in all of us adults.