The Fall: Tarsem Singh (2006)


Ten minutes into the film and you’re certain you’ve chanced upon something rare; a film that is truly an auteur’s labor of love. The Fall is not so much about imagination as it is about childhood innocence.

In a hospital in early 20th century Los Angeles, Roy Parker (Lee Pace), a depressed and suicidal stunt man paralyzed from the waist down befriends a free spirited young girl, Alexandria (played brilliantly by Catinca Untaru, who at the time was only 6 years old) secretly hoping he can charm her enough to get a bottle of morphine. He proceeds to tell her a story that he makes up along the way and the audience is privy to a sumptuously visual tale calling into action colorful characters ranging from an angry slave to Charles Darwin and his pet monkey.

As Roy becomes progressively more depressed in the real world, his story gets darker and immerses an innocent young girl into the recesses of the mind a man on the brink of suicide. As Alexandria starts getting emotionally involved, she goes to great lengths to keep the story going, to keep Roy going, all the while hoping for a happy ending. The third act was so emotionally engaging that I have to confess, I think I may have shed a tear or two.

Shot in some 25 countries, the film is an eye-popping travelogue and the compositions of a few frames are so ridiculously brilliant that you can’t help but marvel at what goes on inside the head of the director.

The characterizations and the plot itself are deeply flawed mostly because the director pays too much attention to visual detail but you’ll be hardpressed not to overlook that. You have to hand it to Tarsem for his audacity; he shot the film over four years with his own money and never allowed studios to touch a single frame. This is evidenced by the lack of a truly uplifting ending.

For me, the film was an immensely personal experience taking me back to my childhood when bedtime stories played an integral part; perhaps the reason why I tend to go off on tangents so often. Escapism, you see, is a beautiful thing.


(Cross-posted on Couch Critics)


2 Responses to “The Fall: Tarsem Singh (2006)”

  1. That movie sounds wonderful… On my list now.

  1. 1 The Fall: Tarsem Singh (2006) | Costly Confessions

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