The Fall (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/10/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

Enjoyable, well acted and visually stunning fantasy drama that is sure to divide audiences but is unlike anything else you'll see all year.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tarsem (J-Lo vehicle The Cell), The Fall is set in the 1920s and stars newcomer Catinca Untaru as Alexandria, a young immigrant girl who's recovering in hospital after a fall. Lonely and bored, she spends her days wandering around the wards, until she meets Roy (Lee Pace), a wounded stuntman whose girlfriend has just left him.

To keep Alexandria entertained, Roy tells her a fantastic tale about five heroes: a masked swashbuckler (Pace), an escaped African slave (Marcus Wesley), Charles Darwin (Leo Bill) and his pet monkey, Italian explosives expert Luigi (Robin Smith) and an Indian swordsman (Jeetu Verma). The heroes are all seeking revenge on the evil Governor Odious (Daniel Caltagirone), so they kidnap his fiancee (Justine Waddell, who also plays a nurse) in the hopes that he'll try to rescue her.

The Good
Tarsem shot the film in more than 20 different countries over a period of several years, in search of ever more exotic locations and architectural wonders. His hard work paid off, because the results are stunningly beautiful to look at, with bright, colourful cinematography courtesy of Colin Watkinson and some jaw-dropping landscapes.

Catinca Untaru is a real find and delivers an utterly charming performance, largely in broken English ("Don't keel heem!"), while Pace is excellent as the wounded soldier who uses his epic story to mask his own despair. In addition, the fantasy sequences feature some gorgeous, brightly coloured costume designs by Eiko Ishioka that really add to the film.

The Bad
It's fair to say that this won't appeal to everyone. The plot may feel like a rip-off of The Princess Bride, but it's actually taken from a 1981 Bulgarian movie called Yo Ho Ho, which might account for the fact that the fantasy sequences aren't quite as compelling as they ought to be.

Worth seeing?
The Fall is an engaging, beautifully shot fantasy drama that is surely destined for cult status. Recommended.

Film Trailer

The Fall (15)
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Content updated: 21/08/2018 17:06

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