Tarsem Singh finally released his 2nd movie, and it’s now showing at the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake. His first film, ‘The Cell,’ starred Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vauhn (that just sounds like a recipe for mind-numbing failure) and was released in 2000. Admittedly, I’ve never seen ‘The Cell,’ but it met with mediocre reviews.
‘The Fall’ was released May 9th, after 4 years of filming and 2 years of sitting on the shelf waiting for…I don’t what for. A distributor? The main complaint of critics of ‘The Fall’ (and of ‘The Cell’) is it’s fragmented and/or shallow plot. I’d have to agree slightly with this assessment, but also I think, who cares? This is one of the most visually stunning movies I’ve ever seen. And I think this was Tarsem’s point.
It was filmed over 4 years, spanning 18 countries. Tarsem wrote and directed the movie, as well as paid for it out-of-pocket. Filmed in such magnificent places as Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, the look is pure beauty. Tarsem insists there are no special effects in the film, that all the remarkable is scenery looks just as it’s shown. This is truly a feat of location scouting. Remember how visually stunning ’300′ was? Picture that, multiplied by 15, but without the special effects or depending on graphic violence and spattering blood to fill the voids. The acting left a little to be desired, but did I mention it was visually stunning? So much so, you can forgive all the other shortfalls. Catinca Untaru plays the cute, young, Romanian immigrant and steals the show with her acting abilities. More impressive still, is that she doesn’t speak English and memorized the way her lines sound, but didn’t understand what she was saying.
One critic said, sure it’s beautiful, but a coffee table picture book would have served the same purpose. This is simply not true. Yes, focus was centered around how the film looked, but Tarsem knows how to pull at emotional heart strings, couple dramatic scenes with dramatic music, as well as keep a little humor in the picture. Fortunately, some of the right people liked the movie. Included in these are David Fincher and Spike Jonze who use their names to endorse the film in the beginning. They might be the soul reason this movie is released in theaters at all. Fincher described his impression of the film as being, “what would’ve happened if Andrei Tarkovsky had made The Wizard of Oz.” I’m sure he meant that as a compliment, but if you’ve seen a Tarkovsky film…well, I promise this movie isn’t as boring as hell.
While it’s rated R, there’s no nudity at all (just a few men in loin cloths) and no profanity. With the exception of a moist bundle of flayed corpses, the film’s mild fantasy violence scarcely warrants so restrictive a rating.