Directed by Tarsem.
Written by Tarsem, Dan Gilroy and Nico Soultanakis. Based on
the film "Yo Ho Ho" by Valeri Petrov.
Starring Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 6/2/08
The first time I saw the trailer for "The
Fall"? How about on my Xbox 360, which has a number of
downloadable trailers on its community page; the trailer in HD
looked incredible, so when the film opened last week, I was sure to
check it out.
The visuals are certainly the selling point
of "The Fall", a film by the guy that did the J-Lo thriller
"The Cell" way back in
the day. The costumes, sets and special effects are just as
elaborate, thanks to a shoot that was done in 24 different countries
over the course of a few years. Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies")
stars as a 1930s film star in an LA hospital who befriends a little
girl named Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), and during their friendship
he tells her an epic fairy tale about a group of good guys who are
exiled on a remote island by an evil dictator; using their wits,
guns, swords and a pet monkey, the five warriors must take down this
dictator and his horde of enemy soldiers. The film cuts back
and forth between the hospital and the fantasy story, set in exotic
locales all over creation.
This will be a great Blu-Ray DVD to own
later; I will admit that the story is occasionally weird and non-sensical
but in some ways that aids the story, because all you have to
concentrate on are the visuals. Pace shows some promise in
this film (completed quite a while ago, apparently, as early as
2006) but he is not star-quality enough in some ways to carry the
epic portion of the story; the side actors are serviceable, but
never overwhelming. The big make-or-break character in "The
Fall" is actually the little girl, and as Alexandria, Untaru is
sometimes great--cute, engaging, sad, heroic (especially when she
inserts herself in the storytelling later in the film). Then,
at times, she is a pain in the ass, whiny even for a child, and
downright unintelligible...and, this is because director Tarsem
decided to cast a child whose English is cutely broken at times, and
at other times, I couldn't understand a single word she said, and I
was laser-focused just on the girl for a while.
It is decisions like these that baffle me to
no end; couldn't you cast a cute little girl whose lines don't come
out sounding like a drunken hobo? Were there no other children
on the studio lot for the months that this film was being shot?
Why not minimize the child's role and stick to a beefier fantasy
story? I don't know, but me, I would have cast Betty American
Actress, make her eight years old and completely naive to the world,
and put her in a full-on body cast. You create the same level
of sympathy and get an actress whose lines come out clean.
"The Fall" is generally very watchable, but
the Alexandria character and a surprisingly violent final 20 minutes
bring the entire product down a bit; I'll admit that I thought too
much of the film takes place in the hospital, but I guess you need
to have some balance in order to make this whole thing work.
Catch it at a nice theater with good projectors, or wait to see this
on hi-def TV next year; the visuals are truly incredible.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard