Initial Attraction: Lee Pace/ Stunning Cinematography
Thoughts: Director Tarsem filmed for four years in over 20 countries and claims there are no special effects in the film which is astonishing considering its cinematic surrealism.
Tarsem (who is from India) has been directing mostly commercials and music videos for the past 20 years and claims to watch a lot of “bad porn”…I get that from the ridiculousness that is “The Fall”. Tarsem must be making bank on royalties to be able to have afforded to shell out millions of his own money to make this film.
The film feels a bit choppy at times because of all the cross-cutting between Roy (Pace) interacting with Alexandria (Catinca Untaru) in the hospital, and the telling of the fantastical tale of the Black Bandit (also Pace) and his comrades.
As enjoyable as the film is because of its visually stunning and abstract (even the movie’s poster is based off of a famous work of Salvador Dali’s) scenery, costuming, and art direction, it is a bit hard to follow and nonsensical.
However, the scenes where Roy and Alexandria bond and form a (I’ll be it selfish and deceiving on Roy’s part) friendship start off as endearing and late in the film became incredibly moving and emotionally charged. I got the sense that there was a lot of improv going on between Pace and Untaru that Tarsem kept instead of cutting which made their relationship feel very natural and real. (During one scene Pace says “What?” several times because he is having a hard time understanding Untaru through her thick accent.)
Surprise: What I couldn’t get out of my head after watching the film, was the music; "Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, II. Allegretto" by Beethoven. Being more familiar with Mozart, I had no idea that it wasn’t composed specifically for the movie. It is haunting, melancholy, dramatic, romantic, and macho all in one and is the perfect backdrop for this piece of art. I don’t think I will ever be able to separate it from the images of the film or the Black Bandit himself (the main theme of the symphony is the character’s perfect theme music).
Watch-ability: Catinca Untaru’s Alexandria is not only adorable, but her honesty, innocence, and eagerness for Roy’s stories makes you want them too. Even if it is not an entirely cohesive storyline you don’t really care, because you are simply fascinated.
Side-note: Although this seems like a Lee Pace fan page, I swear it is not, this is the last one I am blah blah-ing about (for now) : )
Sources: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080529/REVIEWS/805290301 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RVMuqBH9kc http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460791/