Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Fall |
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Actors: Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru, Justin Waddell, Emma Johnson, Aiden Lithgow
Director: Tarsem Singh
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 09/09/2008 Run time: 117 minutes Rating: R
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Member Movie Reviews
Alex P. (x3iv) from CHRISTIANSBRG, VA
Reviewed on 1/30/2009...
What an utterly fantastic movie. Beautiful, nostalgic, and tragic all at once... I could enjoy it just as much even with the sound turned off. The images have been carefully crafted to created a dreamlike world for the fantasy sequences, the real-life stuff just as carefully drawn to create a backdrop of bleary melancholy. A treasure of film.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Tell Me a Story
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 07/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember the days when I had stories read to me. I remember how it made me feel. Me and about twenty other kids would gather at the teacher's feet, and I would actually imagine the story unfolding as she read aloud. I think we all have those memories buried somewhere within, those wonderful moments when the spoken word transcends mere speech and becomes a definite vision. Tarsem's "The Fall" works in much the same way, not only for the characters, but also for the audience; reality and fantasy are interchangeable, not separate. People from our world appear in the story, and characters in the story are broadly drawn from the people in our world. It's much like the whimsical dreamscape of "The Wizard of Oz," in which Dorothy awakens in Kansas and realizes that the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion, and the Wizard were actually people she knew, therefore with her the entire journey.
But the dreamscape of "The Fall" is much more compelling than anything conjured out of whimsy. It's a character-driven fantasy that uses both its brain and its heart, with a story so compelling it doesn't let us escape. We don't much want to, especially if we hold true to the power of imagination and the hope of redemption. Paradoxically, it takes the imperfections of human existence to reach these perfect ideas; the characters of this film are flawed and vulnerable, far from a series of walking clichés. Many are manipulative and selfish. The main character is innocent, but at age five, she's also incredibly naïve. She sees and hears everything going on around her, and while she doesn't understand most of it, you can tell that she's trying to. Her name is Alexandria, and she's played by Catinca Untaru--she was so receptive to the material that I never once believed she was acting. She was living it.
Taking place in 1920s-era Los Angeles, "The Fall" actually opens with the aftermath of a bad fall, and we see a man and a horse pulled from a lake, having tumbled off a railroad bridge. Soon after, we meet little Alexandria, an immigrant worker hospitalized after breaking her arm picking oranges. Always with a box full of things she likes, she travels the hallways and wings of the hospital, mentally gathering the sights and sounds. One day, she wanders onto a lower floor and meets Roy Walker (Lee Pace), a bedridden, emotionally broken Hollywood stuntman; after some initial banter, Roy begins telling Alexandria an epic story of five men seeking revenge.
Over the course of the film, we see that the characters of Roy's story are reflections of the people in or around the hospital: a one-legged actor becomes Luigi (Robin Smith), a master of explosives; an orderly becomes Charles Darwin (Leo Bill), a naturalist who travels with a monkey, searching for an elusive breed of butterfly; the hospital's ice delivery man becomes Otta Benga (Marcus Wesley), a former slave; an orange picker becomes the Indian (Jeetu Verma), who lost his intended so horribly, he vowed to never stare at another woman; Alexandria's dead father (Emil Hostina) initially becomes the Masked Bandit, but he's replaced by Roy when Alexandria says her father shouldn't be in the story. With the help of a tree-dwelling mystic (Julian Bleech), the five bandits journey across exotic lands to find the ruthless Governor Odious (Daniel Caltagirone), drawn from the hospital's Dr. Sinclair.
As the story progresses, we quickly realize that the characters aren't the only things mirrored from reality--the entire plot is a stylized reinterpretation of Roy's recent life. To say more would give too much away, but here are a few things to consider: (1) Roy periodically pauses the story and has Alexandria steal medicine for him; (2) he closes his eyes at one point and tries to guess which of his toes she's holding on to, and we're not sure if she tells him a lie; (3) he gets increasingly unwilling to see the story through to the end. Even when Roy's situation is finally explained, we still wonder what would possess him to do the things he does. For him, telling Alexandria a story is not his way of escaping into fantasy, but of gaining the upper hand. And yet we deeply care for him; we believe that a decent soul lies beneath the anguish, waiting for the right time to emerge.
At the same time, we're taken aback when Alexandria wishes to never get better. She seems to have formed a special bond with Roy, most likely because she doesn't know she's being manipulated. She probably doesn't even know what manipulation is; she does what she's asked without stopping to consider why she's doing it. With her, it's not about being sneaky but about experiencing life, and this is despite the limitations of young age and the confines of hospital walls. Keep in mind that we never see her playing with the other children in the pediatric ward; we suspect that she imagines things at a much more mature level, considering how well developed her communication skills are. She doesn't always have the words, but she somehow finds a way to get her point across. This kind of character development is rarely seen in today's movies; most are bogged down by predictable plotlines and mass-produced special effects. "The Fall" is a refreshing exception to the rule--a visual masterstroke with an engrossing character-driven plot. It's definitely one of the year's best films."
Magical fantasy; dark, deadly magic
wiredweird | Earth, or somewhere nearby | 07/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This little sleeper (and I use the word with a shiver) succeeds in more ways than I could have imagined.
Its visuals captivated, especially in the first half. Whoever composed the imagery had a knack for the very plain and very dramatic - the kind of thing you might call elegant, if it didn't knock you on your butt. Even if the rest of the movie wandered, that would have been enough for me.
But it didn't wander. It starts with a chance friendship between a man and a cute little girl. Mutual confinement in the hospital made it possible, a happy child's natural friendliness and trust made it work, and the others around (staffers and other patients) made it as safe as that simpler time would suggest. The man promised her stories, and spun tales of wonderful people and dramatic deeds for her. And, as the stories moved forward, her small and real person appeared within them. Maybe the fantasy wasn't real, but it contained scraps of reality and became real for her.
Behind it all, the man lay in smiling despair - not dishonest, but too defeated to let an unhappy look invite unwelcome concern. All he wanted was for his pain to end. Think about that: in a world with miracles every day, love in so many unexpected places, an infinity of hopes and possible futures, and people with hopes and feelings of their own, he wanted one thing. The pain to end, no matter what. If magic comes from power, that's a dark magic with huge power.
See it through. No linear telling will capture this story. Its emotional tone runs across a gamut that some viewers won't recognize - well, knowing what it means has a serious cost. It ranges up and down, it presents itself in simple images with dramatic color and composition, and ends with the lines blurred between fantasy and reality more than ever.
The benchmark Blu Ray for years to come.
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 09/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The wordsmiths of Amazon have enlightened us all much better than I could at what a masterpiece this film is, so the obvious question for me was how the transfer would sustain. Without any hesitation this BD and film mandate ownership; I feel comfortable in saying that no other film (as a whole presentation) comes close in color, detail, clarity or saturation - than Tarsem's preserved vision here.
I have been playing it in the store for several days on the HD display, and without exception it captivates the attention of everyone, even at the slower scenes.
The two documentaries on the BD (directed by Tarsem patriot Nico Soultanakis) prove there is something to be said for no talking heads or glossed over narrations in making behind the scenes films. Both are 30 minutes long and are produced identically to the main film, so expect lots of jumping around (literally) and heartfelt moments. The picture gallery is exclusive to the BD and contains 71 beautiful pictures of the cast and filming locations. The two deleted scenes were amazing (only a minute long) in scope and would have been great to see in the film.
The quality of the transfer is superb, and even the "night" shots on the island sequences looked perfect. Outside of the black and white intro, the heroes traveling through the badlands-style mountains tested the contrast/clarity the best (especially the deleted sequence of the same scene).
I hope the small volume of negative reviews and other detractors on the Net and elsewhere do not keep one from seeing this incredible film."