OH MY GOSH THE FALL THO. I’d love to talk about this film. Here we go.
The story is lovely, really — but for a moment, let’s look beyond that to the way the film was constructed. What made this film resonate so profoundly was the fact that its characters were not artificial. Catinca Utaru, who plays Alexandria, was not given a script. Lee Pace, who plays Roy, was not given a script. These two actors convened not as actors, but as human beings to create the story of The Fall. Granted, as their fantasy progressed, Tarsem Singh (the director) seized the reins, but gave Lee and Catinca enough slack to develop their imaginations and their fictional world freely and humanly. It’s an astounding feat of filmmaking. For Catinca in particular, the illusion was real. Until the film was wrapped, there was no Lee Pace, only Roy Walker, an emotionally and physically traumatized paraplegic intent on being her friend. It’s astounding. Singh is a genius.
But then, the story. It’s safe to say that the story was almost entirely propelled by the visuals. Earth was the backdrop, its stunning landscapes and man-made marvels the sets. Creating an imagined world of such scale was daunting, but Singh pulled it off and created one of the most visually breathtaking films I’ve ever seen. Penetrating colors, sweeping landscapes, gorgeous ethnic structures and intricate mise-en-scene are really what made Roy and Alexandria’s fabricated world so awe-inspiring and potent. It was as if Singh wanted to fully communicate just how beautiful not only their imaginations were, but how beautiful their relationship is. Using such a broad cinematic canvas achieved that. The contrast between the cramped, tight world of the hospital and the open, larger-than-life world of the imagination create a compelling opposition of priorities for both the viewer and the characters.
Though the visuals are truly something to gape at, the psychological spectrum of this story is just as, if not more, incredible. I’ll have to gush over Lee Pace for a moment, because think about it — without a script, Roy was his. Lee was the one who, with subtle guidance from Singh, constructed the psychological distress that haunts you from the moment the film ends. Granted, Singh did want Roy to be a mentally and physically distraught character, but the unpredictability of Catinca’s involvement left everything, essentially, up to Lee. The path from utter despair, to slight hope, to near-suicide, to redemption, and finally to euphoria — these were elements of a human experience that grew from the interactions of a middle-aged actor and a five-year-old actress. And that’s pretty dang lovely, if you ask me.
If anyone hasn’t seen this film good golly gosh what are you doing go watch it right now.