How was this allowed to fall through the cracks? Yes, pun intended. I’ve only heard of this because of some YouTube top 10 visually appealing movie list, and it really did deliver quite a range of eye candy. We visit a variety of sites from deserts to cities and see quite the colorful cast in the process.
This was directed by Tarsem Singh, who directed The Cell as well, so you can definitely see his style across both films. I’m not even sure what else to compare this to because both films have a pretty unique style of costume and design. If anything, there is a costume that resembles that of Padmé Amidala from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This takes on such a weird mix of ideas from evil soldiers in black to slaves pulling a giant cart for royalty. Maybe The Matrix has some costumes or imagery that resemble something in this, but it’s a hard film to compare to others due to its vibrant use of color, costume, and setting.
Filming took place in well over twenty countries and spanned quite a few years. Apparently, the director dropped a large chunk of his own money to finance this film, and in return the studio pretty much buried it to become a cult classic later on. I hadn’t heard of this before and apparently, no one else did either because it only made close to four million dollars on about a twenty-eight million dollar budget. Fortunately, we have people like Tarsem with a vision that have the money to bring films like this to fruition.
The Fall takes place in the early 1920’s and is about a little girl with a broken arm who befriends a man with a broken back in a hospital. He was injured in a tragic accident while performing a stunt on a silent film. As their friendship forms, he begins telling her stories to pass the time but quickly sees an opportunity for her to steal morphine in the hopes he can overdose and die. With a broken back and the myriad of problems that entails, he’s got severe depression and simply wants an end. She only complies with his requests when he doles out more of the story which is what drives the progression of the whole overall plot.
What we see in the film is her imagination bringing the tale he’s telling her to live, and the transitions between real world and imagination are very seamless. The characters she sees in her mind’s eye are people from around the hospital who become heroes or villains depending on who she is safe with or afraid of. Unfortunately, the story is probably the weakest part of this film but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It merely serves to provide a canvas for the cinematography to paint on and depending on how he feels when he’s telling her portions, things can get really dark in tone.
While I was enthralled from start to finish, there were some flaws. As mentioned, the story was the worst part of this film. It was a bit simple which could be attributed to what the little girl would have experienced in her short life, but beyond that, there was something about the way this was delivered. Maybe it was that the story evolved as the film progressed depending on the mental fitness of the man telling the story. He was very depressed and openly worked at suicide. So that may have contributed to the odd feeling. The other problem was that the little girl had this really thick accent which made hearing her parts difficult. Overall I thought this was great and give it 4/5 stars. I’m definitely interested in seeing this again.