Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hidden Gems: The Fall

It's kind of weird to say, but is it possible for there to be such a thing as an adult kid's movie? I mean, a movie that is styled like a kid's movie, but deals with subject matter above and beyond a child audience? I think that is what Tarsem's movie, The Fall, is. It is an enchanting experience, capturing everything that I've ever loved about kid's movies, but in a package that was clearly targeted towards adults.

Roy is a Hollywood stuntman in the Golden Age of Hollywood, a man scorned by the love of a movie starlet. Roy has had an accident on set and found himself in a hospital pitying himself over the loss of his love. Here Roy meets a young girl named Alexandria, who has a broken arm. Alexandria and Roy strike up a friendship as Roy starts telling her this epic fantasy/adventure story about five men hunting down a murderous governor. As the story is told Alexandria blends people from her reality into the fairy tale, to where this story becomes real to her. But as we soon learn, Roy tries to bend Alexandria's desire to finish the story to his means to get him meds so he can kill himself.

The Fall is a movie that is at times, fun, at times frightening, and at other times sad. Like the great epics of cinema history, The Fall is a heartfelt movie that steadily drives forward to reach maximum emotional connection, but it is a movie that is brusque and rough at times. Alexandria catches glimpses of the adult world, these glimpses coming both in the fairy tale told to her by Roy and through her watching people around the hospital. It's a movie that keeps things like death and love mysteries, as they were when we were children, and it is these mysteries that keep one as an adult enthralled (cause are we any closer to solving them).

Actor Lee Pace plays Roy with upmost pity, and his performance is one that will be lost on many, being one of those performances that is consistent throughout but never has a real wow moment, but I for one was quite impressed by his skill and range. Lots can be said about little Catinca Utaru, who portrays Alexandria, she is cute as anything, wide-eyed, and innocent, and when she cries she breaks your heart. These two actors are the anchor to the whole movie, and I think it is why the fairy tale story spun by Roy has all the more resonance, when the fairy tale world and reality collide in Alexandria's mind.

Director Tarsem Singh's movie is filled with lush visuals of astonishing lands that are almost too fantastic to be real, but no CGI. This movie is epic, and what makes it all the more sweeping is that everything you see was done in camera. On a technical level, this is one of the most technically astounding movies I've ever seen. The cinematography is beautiful, the action well choreographed, and the blocking of scenes works to a point of visual perfection that few directors manage to do.

So I love this movie. The Fall is a fantastic cinematic achievement that has to be experienced. It's ethereal, totally unbelievable, playing like a kid's movie in terms of tone, but with adult subject matter. The Fall is a unique package, one that is a true Hidden Gem.

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