Tarsem Singh’s fim “The Fall” is, beyond doubt, the most beautiful film that I have ever seen. It captured me in a way that most films don’t, blocking away all my thoughts and quieting my inner critic and pulling me into the world of the film. It excels at something that I thought had been lost from film since the rise in quality and quantity of CGI: the sense of wonder at what you see on the screen, the thought that what you see couldn’t possibly exist, in a sense, the magic.
The film is set in the 1920’s in a Catholic hospital in Los Angeles. We follow Alexandria (played by the charming Cantica Untaru), the daughter to immigrant fruit pickers that has broken her arm, as she meets paralyzed stuntman Roy Walker (an amazing Lee Pace). He entertains her with stories (to an end that I won’t reveal here) and it is these stories, interpreted through the mind of Alexandria, that we see on scree<n in rich colors, breathtaking sets and magnificent costumes.
But like the plot in the hospital is a frame for the stories that are told in it, the story is just a frame for the beautiful set pieces and visual sequences that make up the movie. Tarsem is primarily a commercial and music video director, and that approach to creating striking images and visual hooks is all over the movie. What’s more amazing is that no computer generated images were used, and all of the locations in the movies were real.
I could go on forever about the things that don’t make sense about the movie; a lead actress that doesn’t speak English, a film whose biggest star is Lee Pace (star of the canceled TV show “Pushing Dasies”), a Los Angeles hospital shot in South Africa… the film boggles the mind.
But none of those things matter. What is on the screen obliterates all reservations. All I can say is, see it. If you can find it in a theater, see it there. If you have to watch it on DVD, see it at home. But see it.