Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tarsem shows’em

Movie • THE FALL • 2008
Edited Monday, June 9. See Below***
I’m a fan of pictures. Moving pictures move me. It’s my favorite thing aside from a moist, creamy chocolate brownie with mint chocolate chip ice cream on top. That’s why I have to take a step aside and tell you about a movie that doesn’t necessarily fit snuggly with the other movies I like to tell you about. This picture may not be only the best film of 2008. I nominate the Tarsem film The Fall as a top ten picture of all time! It’s today’s Wizard of Oz.
I went to the Sunshine Cinema Landmark Theater in NYC Friday evening to see The Fall directed by Tarsem, the same visual artist who spewed out The Cell with Jennifer Lopez. I now see that the Cell was a Hollywood monstrosity puppet show with studio execs pulling all the strings. The Fall is obviously the comeback. It’s Tarsem’s return with a vengeance.
We begin in Los Angeles in the 1920s or so. A little immigrant girl named Alexandria is in the hospital recovering from a tumble. She befriends a young man named Roy Walker who is bed-bound. The two hit it off far too easily — almost in child-like fashion, and it seems believable until you understand the true reason for their friendship. Roy, played by Lee Pace spends days telling a long-winded, made up tale of adventure to Alexandria, magnificently played by Catinca Untaru. I’m not even sure I can believe she was really acting. She was far too convincing in all her nuances and gestures. The adult actors around her must have done a lot of ad-libbing to play off her adorable role. If not, she must win the oscar for best actress. I don’t care if she’s still just a tot.
Roy’s fairy tale of Indians, pirates, and adventurers is masterfully presented to us through the imagination of Alexandria. She places the people she sees every day in the roles of the avengers who seek to bring down the evil Governor Odious. What Roy is telling is not always what Alexandria sees, and we get to witness her worldly perceptions illustrating what slowly progresses into a self-realization for both of them.
If you have an appreciation for cinema, The Fall will have you spinning. What the film is really about will not be divulged to you until each of the two main characters realize what they’ve really been doing while getting to know each other. We are left with an ending that leaves us guessing if we are being told the truth, and I love it for that very reason. I cried for three reasons at the end, and I never even thought about the third before. I’m so happy that I’ve had another chance to see the world through an innocent child’s eyes. I’m not really sure where my eyes are from.
Perhaps I’ll return to this review in the future and say more, but for now let me just say that there is an element to early film I never had an appreciation for, and now I feel guilty for that neglect. I realize now that film is the metaphor for the points of view we are witness to throughout our lives. My inner child will forever believe that film makes us immortal. That and a good shot of electricity from a Tesla coil ;)

***Here is something that was a splendid surprise. At the end of The Fall I stayed to watch the credits as I always do (this is an important step to being a true fan of pictures). I noticed the credit for titles going to Stephan Bucher. You may notice his link to the right for his Daily Monster. <<< click there if you don’t see it. As a blog friend I had to email him to ask, and indeed it was him. It’s either a small world or true synchronicity (why does spell check still not like that word?). He was the same Stefan Bucher! So many of you have found me through a link on his site I feel it’s the least I can do to ask you to take a look-see at his work.
His design. Fun!
His Daily Monster (highly recommended).
His typography work on The Fall. You can also read Stefan’s synopsis of the story here. He reveals a little more than I wanted to in my review, so be careful. There are slight spoilers.

Thanks again to Stefan and all the hits from his monster friends!

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