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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Fall


Starring: Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru and Justine Waddell
Momentum Pictures
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 26 January 2009

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastical story about five mythical heroes set in an exotic far off land. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances and takes a sinister, life-threatening turn...

The Fall is an incredibly ambitious venture by music and commercial director Tarsem Singh. This is his second film - his first being the 2000 film The Cell - and in order to see his vision through to the end it was made outside of the studio system, being financed by Singh himself. Following closely the plot of the 1981 Bulgarian movie Yo Ho Ho, The Fall sees a young man called Roy who is rushed to hospital after a stunt he performs in a movie goes horribly wrong. While confined to his bed he befriends a young girl, Alexandria, who is in the hospital with a broken arm.

Sinking into depression Roy tells Alexandria a fairy story in order to gain her trust and get her to steal some morphine from the hospital's pharmacy so that he can end his own life. The fairytale he tells revolves around five heroes and the story is seen through Alexandria's eyes as she starts to place people she knows into the story.

Visually this is a beautiful movie, but there were a few too many scenes that looked like pretentious commercials - these included the swimming elephant, Governor Odious's caravan being pulled through the desert by slaves, and the scenes with the city full of blue buildings. There are also elements of Pan's Labyrinth; The Wizard of Oz and even Cinema Paradiso (just because of the end movie clips montage) thrown into the mix.

The end result pays off, but I'm not entirely sure that today's average cinema-goer will really get the subtleties that layer this film. To get the most out of this movie you're going to have to watch it at least twice. I have to admit that on watching the film on the first time through I wasn't entirely sure what I thought of it. There were elements I loved and others I wasn't so keen on. But it was only on the second viewing that I really started to appreciate Singh's well crafted tale.

Extras include two audio commentaries (one with writer / director Singh and one with actor Lee Pace, writer / producer Nico Soultanakis and writer Dan Gilroy); Deleted Scenes (1 min, 35 sec); two Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes (Wanderlust (28 min, 15 sec) and Nostalgia (30 min) both of which offer up raw behind the scenes location filming); and Trailer.

This is not a film for people who don't like to think about what they're watching - who are happy to have their entertainment forced down their throat with very little substance. A visual feast for the eyes and a movie that allows the audience to appreciate the end result on numerous levels.


Darren Rea

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