“There’s no happy ending with me.”
Bringing together fantasy and reality, “The Fall” is a 2006 Adventure/Drama film directed by Tarsem Singh. A film that hits close to the heart in an extremely unexpected and gradual tone, it tells the story of an injured stuntman, Roy, who meets a young girl, Alexandria, with a broken arm. He begins to tell her a fantastic story about 5 mythical heroes, while interweaving her family and people she likes from the hospital into his tale. However, his intentions are left unclear to the audience.
The story, told by Roy, has both the wonder of a child’s imagination and the loneliness of a grown adult. The tale follows Black Bandit, the protagonist, and his 5 companions: Italian anarchist, an escaped African slave, an Indian, Charles Darwin and his pet monkey, Wallace. They go an adventure to seek revenge on their enemy, Governor Odious.
His intentions soon become clear as he requests for Alexandria to steal morphine tablets from the hospital. He attempts to kill himself. We only find out at the end that our protagonist is in fact a lonely man who was using a child for his intentions. However, throughout the whole story, the curious pair forms a bond that gives us hope that this child might be able to save him. Themes of suicide and loneliness, in my opinion has never been told better in a film. Director Tarsem Singh uses both situations in reality and in fantasy to reveal character traits of our protagonist, giving the audience, by the end of the film, a heart-warming story that creeps on us ever so gradually.
The film’s cinematography is beyond visually stunning. Cinematographer, Colin Watkinson, won the 2008 Austin & Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography. Shockingly, The Fall is one of Colin’s first films as a cinematographer. He would then go on to take part in many TV series, namely The Handmaid’s Tale and Emerald City, though never really hitting the colourful and surrealistic marks as he did in his debut.
Production Design and costume is one aspect that stood out greatly in the film. More recently in films, the genre of fantasy is rarely touched, and even if there are fantasy films, the set design is often more or less the same, boring castles and towns, bringing nothing really unique to the table. The Fall, however, created a great opportunity for production designer Ged Clarke to create a fantastical world full of colour and wonder, something that sets it apart distinctly from the norm.
The Fall is definitely a film to place on your watch-list! With many details and metaphors hidden in the film, it’s one that will leave you in awe.
By: Kathleen bu