Poor Title for a Good Movie
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Much has been written about the homosexual nature of the two antagonists in FALL TIME, and, especially, the feminine name of one of them. To some viewers, there was not enough covert homosexual action between the two men; to others, there apparently should have been none at all. These viewers missed the point of the movie by dwelling on one aspect of it. The fifties era of marked sexual suppression dictated a mute handling of this aspect of the story, although at times that seems the only reason FALL TIME was set in the fifites: to avoid a more in-depth exploration of its themes and characters. The creators proved their thesis by crafting a film that probed its ideas no more deeply than the shallow, stagnant pool of life they apparently thought the fifties of small town life was.Far from wading in violence and sexuality, as some viewers have suggested, FALL TIME underscores its erotic moments and shows only enough violence to prove that the robbers were not the "Hollywood" bad guys that the boys were pretending to be. Viewers who flinch from its violence share the same expectations as the teenagers appeared to in the film. The film, at times, played with the audience's expectations: one youth was hung, but, no, the beam breaks, and the boys lives--only to be shot a few minutes later. One boy gets loose, and a struggle for the gun finds one of the youths squaring off with the bank robber, who torments him to shoot by slamming his buddy's head against the wall. Another moment we have been expecting: when the bank robber says the boy will not shoot but he does. But just when the boy finds the courage to kill we are expecting, he is shot by the other bank robber. Two of the three boys end up dead in the particularly good ending, with the third shot up and in a state of shock. He has robbed a bank, seen his friends murdered, and killed a man. He has had a busy day. The supposed "innocence" of the witness balances off the true lack of it in the leading character. The actors were excellent, making the somewhat contrived plot idea--that the bank robbers would pull a job at the same time the boys were pulling their "monkey romp," and that the robber and the boy would be dressed alike and thus mistakened for one another--believable. The three young actors were particularly good, but they had no sense of what fifties' youth were all about, seeming more like eighties' or nineties' youths thrust back into an earlier time. It was this lack of a sense of period, time, or place that kept the film from being what it could have been, just as it was its deft handling of the loss of innocence theme that kept it from being the predictable thriller exploitation film of sadists tormenting innocence it almost was. It could very well have been set in the thirties or sixties or almost any other period of time. Apparently, the film took place in Minnesota or Michigan, but the accents and the overall ambience were Southern, with a police officer telling the boy he was speeding out of town faster than a "[...] leaving Little Rock." The movie had an absurd sense of what the late fifties were, with characters, costumes, and hair styles of another (sometimes earlier, sometimes later) period of time. The boys dressed for their heist in a "Blues Brothers" look that suggested the early sixties, with thin ties and tailored slacks that were hardly the look of the late fifites. The title, an obvious reference to the fall from innocence of the main character, highlighted the main point of the movie, but the loss of innocence motif at times seemed the English class "thesis" to add respectability to what otherwise would have been a routine dabble into sadism. A film that had the makings of a truly great film came off as only a good one due to its sloppy sense of feeling for place, time, and people."
INTERESTING AND DIFFERENT
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 07/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"FALL TIME is an interesting and different movie, at times implausible, but infused with a sense of loss and despair. The three boys who play the teenagers do a commendable job: Jason London as the educated, uppity-at-times Tim; David Arquette as the prankster in charge David; and Jonah Bleckman as the put-upon Joe. Their latest prank proves to be their last as they cross paths with two homosexual bank robbers. The homosexual theme is underplayed and much innuendo abounds, but there's a sincerity to their relationship that makes it believable. Stephen Baldwin and Mickey Rourke play the robbers. Baldwin is especially good in his role as Leon, a somewhat nebbish, but at the same time, innocently youthful killer. It's a good performance from the Baldwin brother. Rourke, as always, knows how to play sleaze. His Rusty/Florence (great name, huh) is cold, deceitful and manipulative. TWIN PEAKS' Sheryl Lee is both downhome homely but covertly sensual in her role as the kidnapped bank teller or loan officer. There's more than meets the eye,however, with this one. Country crooner Sammy Kershaw also shows up for a brief performance as the deputy.
Paul Warner's direction keeps the atmosphere tense, and with a disturbing sense of doom, which he maintains throughout the movie. The home videos are particularly effective in establishing some of the characters and their motivations.
I liked this film, and think it bears witness to see how some of the unknowns then have blossomed into their present day careers."
Oh, would that Mickey could stop wooing me
Ken Jensen | Kingston, NY | 03/25/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"No. Just no. Don't rent this. OK. A little something. It makes a lot of noise that adds nothing to the plot. Sheryl Lee (probably spelled that wrong) apparently has been scrabbling for a paycheck ever since Twin Peaks and it depresses me to see her act at all since that effort. There's a few other "never rans" in this that seem to really be trying but all for nought. I think Mickey Rourke is usually interesting, even in bad movies and he was in this one, too. But that's about all the good I can say about it. Honestly, I knew better than to rent this but I did. Shame on me."
Anthony Lawson | Caledonia, MN USA | 01/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie takes place in Caledonia Minnesota, not Wisconsin like is written on the box. That was an error on the studio's part. As a citizen of Caledonia Minnesota and a fan of this film, I just thought I should clear that up."