Favorite New Films: The Fall

posted by The Joe

I’m finding myself on the defensive end of many films in 2008, from Speed Racer to My Blueberry Nights to Be Kind Rewind, and now The Fall. Critics seem to have amped up their cynicism, this time questioning director Tarsem’s intentions behind his incredible visual style. It’s strange to be in the corner of this filmmaker, as there are few films I hate more than his debut The Cell, but The Fall is a pure, genuine labor of love.

Self-funded, written alongside a five-year old, and filmed in 18 different countries over the course of almost as many years, The Fall is a dark, whimsical fairytale with breathtakingly vivid locales, colors, and framing. It ultimately boils down to the wonder of cinema as visual storytelling, something that Tarsem is in full understanding of.

While the substance of the film may seem small in comparison to the style, it does its job just as fine as classic fantasy films like Thief of Bagdad and the Sinbad series. Audience opinion will likely hinge upon the largely-improv performance of young Catinca Untaru, who is the best actress I’ve seen so far this year. Tarsem is just as in love with her and Lee Pace‘s stuntman character as he is with his visuals, and their relationship keeps the film from being merely an overlong music video.

In a time when most fantasy films are Lord of the Rings knock-offs, The Fall recalls the best of that cinematic genre’s past, when there was truly a sense of deep love and magic at play.

The Fall – Trailer

Thursday, May 29th, 2008 at 10:17 pm