The Fall is a story of fantastical proportions, dabbling in the veins of a Pan's Labyrinth type fantasy with the goal of beautifully marrying the real world with that of the imagination. Although I feel that Pan's Labyrinth is at the pinnacle of this genre, The Fall fails to measure up, stumbling down the path of weak script founded within a beautiful concept.
Beautiful is the key word in describing the positives of this film. The music, the camera, and the ideas are all beautifully painted onto the flickering screen. Director Tarsem's imagination is unique only to him as he captures things like elephants swimming in the ocean or falling horses from a bridge. His use of color and concept is unique only to his mind.
I loved the relationship between the suicidal stuntman and the barely English speaking little girl. Both confined to the hospital and both searching for escapes within their misery. Their interactions and conversations were an impressive accomplishment for the director. Catinca Untaru, who plays the little girl, captures the heart of the viewer with her chubby face, missing teeth, and broken English. Lee Pace also carries a presence that can be strongly felt through the film. These two actors have a bright future that unfortunately has been launched within a mediocre movie where the less than average movie fan will have never heard of.
The weakness of this film is the script. Lose and random, the story feels spotty and confused. We laugh and smile at the incredible acting but in all reality really don't care for their situations or troubles. Why? Because it just doesn't make sense. Tarsem tries to create a love story that we care nothing about. When the broken hearted is attempting suicide, we never understand why because we were never convinced they even loved each other. By the end we feel as frustrated as a teased lover. We want to embrace the film so much but are constantly being held at arms length.
Like many of Tarsem's films you can feel his presence throughout the story. Much like The Cell, the director's use of flowing cloth and beautiful horses capture like only he in sees. One of my favorite scenes is when the little girl badly injures her head and the world cuts to a puppet animated fantasy... loved it.
After seeing the trailer for The Fall, I immediately became excited. A brilliant and beautiful tease that captures everything the film should have been. Tarsem's imagination is one of a kind, but his actual stories move like a beautiful sports car with flat tires.