Tarsem Singhï¿½s The Fall suffers from the same problem as his previous effort, The Cell ï¿½ grandiose images alone do not make for a compelling or coherent narrative.
Probably best known as the director of R.E.M.ï¿½s ï¿½Losing My Religionï¿½ video, Singh shot this softheaded fairy tale over four years in 18 different countries, and paid for it with his own money.
He probably should have spent a little more on a script doctor.
The story, which is set in a gauzily rendered 1920s Los Angeles, opens in an elaborate hospital where an injured movie stuntman (Lee Pace) befriends a 5-year-old Romanian girl (Catinca Untaru) recovering from a broken arm. He begins to tell her a long, fantastical adventure tale to help the pass the days ï¿½ a narrative device Singh uses as an opportunity to literally envision the stuntmanï¿½s often ludicrous fantasies of garishly costumed warriors running around amid extravagant, color-saturated set pieces.
One can imagine Singh saying to himself, ï¿½Hey, wouldnï¿½t a swimming elephant look cool in this shot?ï¿½ and then actually making it happen no matter its illogical impact on the story heï¿½s trying to tell.
Vapid and indulgent, The Fall is as one-dimensional as a picture postcard.