If you've been around long enough to read my review of Pushing Daisies, you will already be aware of my love for Lee Pace. Well, The Fall is where it started.
The Fall (2006) by Tarsem Singh (The Cell) is a story set in a hospital in the 1920s about Roy (Pace), a bedridden and heartbroken stuntman, and Alexandria, a little girl with a broken arm who both suffered injuries from a fall. They strike up an unlikely friendship and we become privy to a fantastical story through Roy's words and Alexandria's imagination of five heroes all seeking revenge on the villainous Odious for his wrong doings.
The story unfolds in a colourful spectacle for the eyes, battles and loss and betrayal and love all play an integral part and, soon, the line between reality and story blurs and soon Alexandria and Roy become part of the story as the "masked bandits". The severity of Roy's real life heartache is revealed and he uses the story to ask Alexandria to do something for him that then blurs the lines of their friendship.
The story is simplistically elaborate, Pace and the young Catinca Untaru play off each other very well and create a very believable friendship – even, at times, when the scenes appear deliberately slow, Untaru livens them with her beautiful expressions and mannerisms. But the scene stealing visuals are what really make this film remarkable. The brilliant colours, the mise en scene, the symmetry – it is immediately apparent that each and every shot from this film is a deliberate one.
And when you learn that Tarsem Singh almost fully financed The Fall himself, filming over four years in over 20 countries, including India, Indonesia, Italy, France, Spain, Namibia, and China it just adds to how impressive this film is. The cast and crew were paid evenly for their efforts, going against the traditional "Hollywood" approach, and Singh took on advertising work in the various countries, to enable him to travel to each place and use his pay cheque to fly the cast and crew out. I mean, if this is not dedication to your craft, I don't know what is.
The Fall is action-packed as the five heroes band together to fight Odious; it is visually stunning, it tells a beautiful story of life and childhood innocence and love, and there is a comedic element n the relationship between Roy and Alexandria, and it's just a little bit odd. Both times I have seen this, I have found myself in awe of its visual and metaphorical beauty.
Finally available in Australia, on blu ray even, The Fall is definitely worth a look and I believe the industry would be better if more films like this got commercial release. I just rewatched it this week and still love it, but if you need more convincing, check out the trailer – I think you will be pleasantly surprised and equally intrigued:
Big thanks to my friend, Yolanda, for introducing me to The Fall and Lee Pace! Would love to know what you think of it!
(Images – check out this site for interviews with Tarsem and Lee Pace too!)