The Fall

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.

Check out seven other clips of the film here.


Rottentomatoes score: 53%

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11 Responses to “The Fall”
  1. Jessica says:

    Pretty pretty post. Is this movie based on a book? By Camus?

  2. Cindroid says:

    nice pics. they add. i want to see it.

  3. blakecgriffin says:

    No, it’s not based on the Camus book. We’ll find a way to collaborate soon.

  4. nonsoccermom says:

    The Cell was…weird. To say the least. Visually stunning, though, and it appears that this one will be as well.

  5. Jen says:

    Thanks for playing along! I haven’t seen this movie or the Cell, but I love to travel, and will probably never get to these places so this one sounds intriguing.

  6. Mama Dawg says:

    I haven’t seen either of these but if the scenery is just as you described, it might be worth it. Thanks!

  7. Heather J. says:

    When I read that this was by the same guy as The Cell, I thought “No Way am I watching this.” But then I watched the 7 clips you mentioned. Wow! This actually looks really good! The idea of the story within a story is great, and the little girl is wonderfully adorable. Thanks so much for the review – I’m going to watch this for sure.

  8. Heather J. says:

    Me again – thanks for your comment on my blog. 🙂 All I can say is that must be the different between your standard movie goer (me) and your film critic (you) and film-award-giver. I’ll admit the the score was lovely, and part of the filming was beautifully done, but I need more than that in a movie. I do appreciate your comment though – I’m glad SOMEONE like this movie … it IS Daniel Day Lewis after all.

  9. Runningamuck says:

    Those pictures are awesome! I did see The Cell but it was so long ago I can’t remember much of it. I’m intrigued about this movie now. Will be adding it to my list.


  10. Bill Adams says:

    Film is, above all, a visual art, and if they get that part right, much can be forgiven. Remeber those weird time lapse pictures from the 80s and 90s, like Koyaniqaatsu, etc? All visual, no story. But the story here is actually strong. The fantasy story gains weight by subtle association with the reality story. Perhaps it was too subtle for some.

  11. Jen says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I finally watched this movie last night after reading your recommendation for it back in July. I pretty much agree with everything you say in your review but I was actually really impressed with the acting. That little girl was just perfect in her role and just blew me away. With all that said, I’d say that I liked the movie but didn’t love it. While the scenes from the bandit story were definitely pleasing to look at, I actually preferred the present day scenes in the hospital better. I know that might sound odd but that is just how much I enjoyed the interaction between the two leads. I’d probably give it 3 out of 4 stars. Thanks for letting me know about it–I would have never watched it if I hadn’t read your review. 🙂

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