Friday, March 17, 2017

The Fall: An Enchanting Adventure

In today's world of big budget special effects extravaganzas & superhero franchises, there aren't many movies that can truly be called unique. Here at Eclectic Avenue, I often try to call attention to noteworthy films that have flown under the radar for some viewers. This week, I'm recommending the The Fall (2006), a spellbinding story directed by Tarsem Singh. Set during the silent film era at a hospital in Los Angeles, the film stars Lee Pace (from TV's Pushing Daisies and Halt & Catch Fire) as Roy Walker, a movie stuntman. Roy is hurt performing a stunt, and while recovering from his injuries, he meets a young girl named Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), who has suffered a broken arm. To pass the time, he tells her a fantastic story of high adventure about a heroic masked bandit & his stalwart allies (including Charles Darwin?!) and their efforts to rescue a beautiful princess from a vile villain named Odius. 

Roy continues to recount the story, and the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur. The friendship between the two deepens. Alexandria becomes involved in the telling of the tale, interjecting her own ideas into the story. But Roy may have an ulterior motive for befriending the girl, and all is not as it seems. What will happen in both stories, the real life one & the imaginary tale? How will it affect Roy and Alexandria's relationship? The answers are both enthralling & surprising. To say much more about the story and its twists and turns would spoil this beguiling, original film for 1st time viewers. Suffice it to say that this is truly a journey worth taking.

Catinca Untaru & Lee Pace
The movie was filmed in stunning locations all over the world (including Italy, France, Spain & India) over a period of four years. Director Tarsem Singh financed much of the production with his own money. The Fall was a deeply personal project & true labor of love for him. The absorbing screenplay is by Singh, Dan Gilroy & Nico Soultanakis. It's a fascinating look at storytellers, who can alter and shape the direction of a tale, and how the telling of a story can affect the storyteller as well. You may notice some parallels to The Princess BrideThe Wizard of Oz, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in the film, though this tale takes a decidedly darker, but still compelling, turn as the story moves forward. 

Singh brings a remarkable visual palette to the film. There are some spectacular & breathtaking sequences during the fairy tale portions of the story; it really is an amazing & extraordinary film. Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru have great chemistry, and work very well together. Untaru's performance feels very real & unforced. Much of the dialogue between the two co-stars was improvised, to allow their relationship to feel more natural. The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray. If you're in the mood for something a little different on your next movie night, take a look at The Fall. I think you'll really enjoy visiting Tarsem's marvelous and imaginative world. Here's a link to the film's trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwsYyRc9j4g.

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