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The Fall
DVD disk
09.19.2008 By: Mathew Plale
The Fall order
Director:
Tarsem

Actors:
Catinca Untaru
Lee Pace
Justine Waddell

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A suicidal stuntman (Pace) shares a fantastical epic of bandits and villains with a young girl (Untaru) in a 1920s Los Angeles hospital ward.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
What a trip! Palaces and gunplay and Charles Darwin and his pet monkey! This is The Fall, director Tarsem [Singh]’s long-awaited follow-up to 2000’s The Cell.

There are two stories here. In the first, suicidal and conniving Hollywood stuntman Roy (Lee Pace) develops a relationship with the curious Alexandria (Romanian-born newcomer Catinca Untaru), who’s being treated at the same Los Angeles hospital as Roy for a broken arm. Roy invites the young girl back to his ward each day for an epic tale, which is the second story of The Fall.

Roy weaves together a yarn of an escaped slave, an Indian, and Italian explosives expert, a bandit, and of course, Darwin and his monkey, banished to Butterfly Reef by the villain, Governor Odious (Daniel Caltagirone), who our heroes journey to conquer.

While Roy tells his tale, which is a sort of hybrid of many literary and cinematic fantasies (The Wizard of Oz, Pan’s Labyrinth), Alexandria’s imagination runs rampant, shattering the windows of our own. From here, Tarsem evokes the idiosyncrasies and extravagancies of Terry Gilliam, Federico Fellini, and Salvador Dali, painting one of the most visually astonishing pictures of the decade, with the help of Colin Watkinson’s cinematography, Ged Clarke and Lisa Hart’s design, and Oscar winner Eiko Ishioka’s extravagant costumes…and without the cheat of computer-generated images.

Filming over four years in 18 countries, Tarsem knows how grandiose his latest is. And why shouldn’t he? Intrepidity (go ahead, call it “cockiness”) is more welcome than a case of the sophomore jitters.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Writer/Director Tarsem: Tarsem delivers an insightful commentary on many of the technical aspects of The Fall, making this a terrific companion piece to the disc’s featurettes, where we see the director at work.

Commentary with Lee Pace, Writer/Producer Nico Soultanakis and Writer Dan Gilroy: Though not as process-driven as Tarsem’s commentary, the chemistry between the three makes for an easy listen.

Deleted Scenes (1:41): There are two here, in which our heroes become lost and the priest switches from bad to good.

Wanderlust (28:12): This structureless featurette (shot on handheld) gives us an in-depth look at The Fall’s production, including cast/crew meetings, on-set footage, Tarsem’s techniques, and much more.

Nostalgia (29:59) offers more of the same, and could have just as well been combined with the previous featurette.

Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The Fall is the best fantasy film to come out since Pan's Labyrinth. With elaborate sets, colorful characters, and overall visual richness, Tarsem's sophomore effort is a must-see for any fan of the genre.
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