The Fall (2006)
February 10, 2023 1:04 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] In a hospital on the outskirts of silent film era Los Angeles, bedridden injured stuntman Roy Walker (Lee Pace) passes the time by telling his fellow patient Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), a little Romanian girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.

Also starring Justine Waddell, Kim Uylenbroek, Aiden Lithgow, Sean Gilder, Ronald France, Andrew Roussouw, Michael Huff, Grant Swanby, Emil Hostina, Jeetu Verma, Leo Bill, Marcus Wesley, Ayesha Verman, Robin Smith, Julian Bleach, Daniel Caltagirone.

Produced and directed by Tarsem Singh. Written by Singh, Dan Gilroy, and Nico Soultanakis.

62% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Not available via conventional streaming, but someone uploaded the film in its entirety to the Internet Archive in HD.
posted by DirtyOldTown (13 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
For my 1000th movie post on FF, one of my all-time favorite films.

It wasn't streaming anywhere online so I had to take care of that myself. We will see how long it lasts.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:05 PM on February 10, 2023 [23 favorites]

I love love love this movie. One of the most visually and emotionally stunning films.

On our first night in Old Beijing, close to midnight my brother and I stepped into what looked like a tiny bar but was actually a labyrinthine club, winding between medieval alleys and neon passageways. Adding to the sense of jet-lagged displacement and euphoria, The Fall was playing on big screens over the bar. Under the backdrop of Tarsem Singh's glorious vividness we tucked ourselves in a corner to people-watch the excellently chic youngsters while drinking gin martinis and munching on incomprehensible snacks.

I recommend it.
posted by Illusory contour at 1:24 PM on February 10, 2023 [6 favorites]

What a wonderful movie for a milestone! God, I just love this movie so much, I almost don't know how to talk about it. Vocabulary fails me--I think it's only really accomplished with hand gestures and melodramatic movements.'s the astounding cinematography. The incredible set designs and stunning locations. The mind-boggling costumes. And at its heart, the story of Roy and his trauma and bitterness, and of course his addiction, and Alexandria and her child's love for Roy and her confusion and pain and joy. They are the most wonderful daughter-father figure pair in modern movies, for me. That scene where Alexandria cries and he breaks her heart and then she forgives him and just...augh, my heart.

I think the first time I saw this, I was so upset about the horse in the titular fall (which, yes, there are many meanings for it here, I'm just referencing that one) that I was impatient with the movie and didn't let it wash over me the way I should have. It was really only when I went back to it and watched it again, after reading some really good fanfic for it, that I fell in love with it.

Catinca Untaru is such an adorable little actress--she's very raw and unpracticed and seems all the more real for it. And this is truly one of Lee Pace's most accomplished performances. I had seen The Cell before I saw this, oddly, and that movie had driven me nuts even while I thought it looked spectacular; this was really where Tarsem's vision for his story and his visuals and how they could meld comes to its full fruition.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:25 PM on February 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

This is really magical, in both its relationship to storytelling (the way Alexandria misunderstands the references and we see those misunderstandings on screen is delightful) and in its positively hypnotic visuals.

All of that said, it wouldn't work if Untaru and Pace weren't both terrific and they really are.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:56 PM on February 10, 2023 [3 favorites]

This one is a good one. I think it is a really well realised film - everybody is on the same page. It is a shame his other films never reach these heights tho I do have a fondness for Immortals which isn't good but I'm a peplum guy and it is hard for me to not embrace any and all contemporary entries in the genre no matter how dumb. The Cell has its moments visually but I didn't connect with the story much.
posted by Ashwagandha at 3:00 PM on February 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

This is a perfect film. I own it. Everyone should watch it, it's the most beautiful way of saying, "it's up to the audience to decide who is the villain and who is the hero in every story."

Who would we be if someone who loved us told our stories? Don't we all have the ability to transcend the loss of our own potential if the right person still has faith in us?

I honestly can't talk about it or show it to anyone without crying. It is a cinematic tour de force and a triumph of visual storytelling.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:00 PM on February 10, 2023 [5 favorites]

I agree that there's a lot of profit in thinking about this movie, but... I can only ever see the spectacle!

So gorgeous, so ambiguous, and unique!
posted by Acari at 8:21 PM on February 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

IIRC, I found this movie through looking for works by Eiko Ishioka, who did the costumes in this film and some other Tarsem Singh films. Either a friend who was an Eiko fan recommended it to me, or I came across it on Netflix and clicked on it because she was in the credits (man, Netflix used to carry an interesting selection--so many shows and movies I would otherwise not have found!).

Some pics of her projects and comments from Tarsem Singh about their collaboration in this article (Lynn Hirschberg, W Magazine).

As fellow commenters have said, the film works because of the combo of great visuals, the cast, the fantasy...and I always get Beethoven stuck in my head after watching this.

>Nico Soultanakis
Sidenote: Didn't know until checking Eiko Ishioka's bio just now that they married a few months before her death.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 5:07 AM on February 11, 2023 [3 favorites]

Congrats on the milestone Dirty Old Town! What a great choice of film for your 1000th post.

I also love this movie. It is one of three that I have bought on blu-ray*. I needed to own it - I didn't want to lose it to the vagaries of streaming services.

It really is Tarsem's best film. Often visionaries like Tarsem fall short on the story, but here it all comes together.

There are so many types of relationships in the world, it's an embarrassment how few of them cinema dares to explore. This complex and tormented relationship between an adult and a child is at the core of why this film is so profound - it creates a tension between cynicism and innocence and it portrays different kinds of vulnerability. The contrast between the isolation of the convalescent facility and the fantastical imagination of the story is brilliant.

This is yet another film I've evangelized about to everyone I know, but none of them have ever watched it.

If any of my friends lived nearby and if my household didn't have to take extraordinary covid precautions I'd set up the projector and big screen and have a watch party. Y'all would be invited.

*The other two are The 7% Solution (because it's awesome and can be hard to find streaming) and The Fifth Element (because it was $2 at the thrift store).
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:54 AM on February 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

an all-time fave. flawless. previously, on Catinca. srsly, you'll be floored.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:55 AM on February 11, 2023 [3 favorites]

Thank you, DirtyOldTown. I needed that. What a masterpiece.
posted by Token Meme at 10:25 PM on February 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

This is a tough sell sometimes, since it isn't well-known and doesn't get a lot of word of mouth.

But 100% of the people I have convinced to watch this loved it dearly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:25 PM on February 14, 2023 [1 favorite]

I heard of this film through DirtyOldTown's mention in the open Monday thread, and it is amazing! My list of all-time top 3 favorites may need to expand to top 4. The cinematography is gorgeous, but it would just be fluff without the connection that builds between the child and the storyteller. When she becomes part of the story he's telling.... Amazing film.
posted by dorey_oh at 5:43 PM on February 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

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