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Film: Review: The Fall

Tarsem Singh's period adventure is pretty but vacant

By Jason Gargano · May 28th, 2008 · Movies
The Fall's bad dudes
(Photo courtesy Roadside Attractions

The Fall's bad dudes

Tarsem Singh�s The Fall suffers from the same problem as his previous effort, The Cell � grandiose images alone do not make for a compelling or coherent narrative.

Probably best known as the director of R.E.M.�s �Losing My Religion� 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 � a narrative device Singh uses as an opportunity to literally envision the stuntman�s often ludicrous fantasies of garishly costumed warriors running around amid extravagant, color-saturated set pieces.

One can imagine Singh saying to himself, �Hey, wouldn�t a swimming elephant look cool in this shot?� and then actually making it happen no matter its illogical impact on the story he�s trying to tell.

Vapid and indulgent, The Fall is as one-dimensional as a picture postcard.

Grade: D+



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