The Fall


I just watched The Fall, which seems to have released theatrically in 2008.

I went into this mostly blind. I’d seen it recommended on the Cinefix Top 10 list for best uses of color in movies, and based on shots like these…

…I decided to check it out.

There is more to this film than its location scouting, cinematography, and costume design (by absolute genius Eiko Ishioka). Perhaps not much more, though I was a sobbing mess near the end, so I don’t want to undersell the narrative elements.

The story, about a convalescing, suicidal Hollywood stuntman in 1915 who befriends and manipulates a little girl who shares his hospital, is a simple thing that critics seem to easily find a disposable frame for the gorgeous, if shallow, painting at the heart of this movie. And while I can imagine some viewers being bored or indifferent to Lee Pace’s broken stuntman and Catinca Untaru’s wide-eyed little girl, I was perfectly enamored with them. It was their relationship, and the way it made me reflect on my own life, that had me in tears.

And this film isn’t really crafted to make you cry. Too often it wears its sense of humor on its sleeve for that. In fact, during the climax, there are moments of humor that stand back-to-back with some true tear-jerkers and it feels like a tonal mismatch in the script that could’ve been tweaked before shooting.

But that’s among only a few really minor complaints I have with the picture. It’s an absolute spectacle, a wonderful thing to behold if you value having eyes to see things of beauty. The few niggling little issues I had are quickly leaving my memory and all that’s left are the many stunning images burned there and the ways it made me feel.

I was hooting with laughter at points, yelping objections like a sport fan, and of course weeping, which all had to do with the chemistry between the film’s two leads. And its many side characters were good enough at keeping the eye-candy ball rolling, although none of them were particularly developed.

I can’t imagine watching this film without being awestruck and immediately smitten, though apparently some people are able. I say it’s their loss, and heartily recommend this to anyone and everyone. Largely financed by its auteur, here is one fine example of cinema as art for art’s sake; a welcome relief for me from cinema as business.

This film is Good, a true ★★★★★ if ever I’ve seen one.

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