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October 2, 2015 2:16 PM   Subscribe

"The Fall" is a 2006 adventure fantasy film directed by Tarsem Singh. The opening title sequence is the "perfect example of a director’s absolute control over his vision." Ebert described the movie as "a mad folly, an extravagant visual orgy, a free-fall from reality into uncharted realms. Surely it is one of the wildest indulgences a director has ever granted himself. Tarsem... has made a movie that you might want to see for no other reason than because it exists. There will never be another like it. "

Here is Tarsem's website.
Bonus: His 2003 commercial featuring Britney Spears, Pink, and Beyoncé as gladiatrices selling sugarwater to Queen's We Will Rock You
posted by growabrain (39 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Forgot to add: The screenplay was co-written - probably doctored - by Dan Gilroy, of the incredibly talented Gilroy clan).
posted by growabrain at 2:21 PM on October 2, 2015


I was hoping you would include a link for watching the movie. I seem to remember the physical disc being available from Netflix, but they do not offer a streaming option.

Ooh! But it appears to be available from several of the digital "rental" outlets for non-insane sums. Amazon appears not to have an HD rental(?) but Apple does.
posted by grobstein at 2:30 PM on October 2, 2015


Rarely does one spend 90 minutes in slack jawed reverie but the Fall on a huge screen?


Oh yeah.
posted by The Whelk at 2:35 PM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I saw this movie in a theatre and I'm glad I did. It's bonkers. The story is a bit weak but WHO FREAKIN' CARES?!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 2:36 PM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm always happy when I hear that people didn’t even notice we did that.

huh. it jumped out and me; seemed really incongruous. to the point where i searched the text to find a justification.
posted by andrewcooke at 2:39 PM on October 2, 2015


>>...the Fall on a huge screen?

i so want my local to pick this up as a midnight movie or periodic re-show.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:39 PM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I bought it years ago and have re-watched it with everyone I know and love. This film is the visual equivalent of 50 years' worth of National Geographic covers, only brought to life.

What an excellent actress the little girl is, too. Great performance!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:50 PM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love The Fall
swimmy elephant most majestic
posted by juv3nal at 3:07 PM on October 2, 2015


I just got the blu-ray because streaming availability is so sporadic. I think this is Tarsem's best film, especially from a storytelling perspective. I'd be thrilled if they let him direct a Star Wars movie, can you imagine? A long as he had creative control that is...
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:21 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is one of those movies that occasionally I get to thinking that I might have actually dreamed that it existed, but nope, still real.
posted by Sequence at 3:28 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Your site requires Flash, Tarsem? My iPad and I are disappoint.

Having seen The Cell, I was a bit hesitant to take Mrs. Wallflower to this one because she would have hated any Silence Of The Lambs-like overtones, but we both loved The Fall, especially the little girl.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:29 PM on October 2, 2015


Also, Pink gets my vote to play the next Red Sonja. The other two couldn't pull off the gladiator schtick.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:31 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I watched the movie in the cinema, thanks to my local indy chain, on Ebert's recommendation; I used to check his site daily/weekly for reviews.

Such a feast for the eyes, and I loved all the funny melodrama of the fantasy tale mixed with the thinly-veiled ugliness that lay beneath the real-life plot, badly hidden by the adults trying to protect the little girl as they destroyed themselves and each other. I rewatched it recently after recommending it in an AskMeFi thread, and I had forgot some of the stuntwork in the fantasy (the wall-climb bit near the end, wow) is also exceptional.

I'm not sure if I buy Tarsem's claim of no CGI, even allowing for the reasonable claim that color correction isn't CGI (it also ain't an in-camera effect in this case, boy-o), but however it was done, it's done well.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:45 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey everyone, it's Admiral Eyebrows!
posted by pxe2000 at 3:57 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think Catinca Untaru's humanity and spontaneity really helped to make the film work beyond a series of beautifully choreographed and photographed images. It's one of those areas where a lot of strongly visual directors tend to fall short.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:59 PM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


It has Lee Pace, and I think we collectively like Lee Pace, a man of some currency.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:29 PM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I watched this film because I needed more Lee "the piemaker" Pace in my life and it is now one of my favorite films. I really like how the melodrama tale told by Pace's character seems inconsequential (even if funny and enjoyable) at first, but then we begin to care about it simply because its a reflection of his mental state.
posted by john-a-dreams at 4:57 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


This film is completely mad, but it certainly is gorgeous.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:57 PM on October 2, 2015


Here are all the filming locations.
posted by Grandysaur at 6:42 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Would I be a terrible person if I mentioned it being green health on Popcorn Time?
posted by Samizdata at 7:14 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was hoping you would include a link for watching the movie. I seem to remember the physical disc being available from Netflix, but they do not offer a streaming option.

Let's ask Can I Stream It?
posted by trackofalljades at 7:46 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Speaking of Popcorn Time, I recommend this fork.) It is also multiplatform.
posted by Samizdata at 8:00 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I liked The Fall very much, and that title sequence is indeed sublime. The less flashy half of the film with Lee Pace and the little girl is arguably the most compelling, and it's surprisingly moving at the end. And the rest doesn't really make any sense, but makes up for it by being gorgeous to look at.
posted by zardoz at 8:24 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I liked The Fall, but I wanted it to be a little better than it actually was. If it could have borrowed some of the story-world heart of The Princess Bride and mixed it with some of the despairing escapism from Pan's Labyrinth, that would have done it for me. But it's charming for not quite working, and for being unapologetically unconventional.

Also, I can finally vent about how every time people talk about the new TV show with the same name, I get all excited and then disappointed when I realize they're not talking about this movie cause no one has seen it. Spoilers - the scene where Lee Pace's character starts destructively lashing out at his story world/the young girl is incredible.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:03 PM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Fall is one of the most extraordinary movies I've ever seen, not just because of how beautiful it is but the story and the concept. Is there anything comparable out there when it comes to a director trying to directly film stream of consciousness? Pan's Labyrinth I guess? It's so fucking good. It's made me react with tears to Beethoven's 7th with an almost dog-whistle level of predictability, and every time I see Lee Pace onscreen some small part of me thinks of that end sequence and is glad he's OK.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 9:20 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cheers. Just finished watching The Fall. I recall having started some years ago, but something came up and I never ended up finishing it (had to send the disc back as I recall).

Wonderful wonderful stuff. And it managed to convincingly show me why Lee Pace's character decided to change his fate without frustrating me as to the classic happy/non-happy ending problem.

It was a lovely way to spend some time tonight, and, if I ever got my multi-favorite pony request, I would use it tonight.
posted by Samizdata at 9:28 PM on October 2, 2015


This movie has been my drug-binge come-down movie since it's been pirateable. It is a fucking masterpiece.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:59 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, I LOVE this movie! I watch it every now and then and sob at how beautiful and tragic and strange it is and it's so devastating it takes me about a year, year and a half maybe until I can watch it again.

The big white sheet in the desert turning red with blood
The black robed figures on the steps
Endless arches with silken curtains
The doomed heroes rushing into battle
The change in the story when the two main characters find each other in the dreamscape

I especially love the central relationship with Lee Pace and the little girl. They filmed their scenes in order to capture the little girl so candidly, and they always made sure he was positioned for the scene before she arrived so she never realized the actor could actually walk.
posted by mochapickle at 10:34 PM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


More Ebert [my bold, ed.]...
Catinca Untaru, then 8, plays the little girl in Tarsem's visual masterpiece "The Fall," and is told legends by a wounded soldier which she translates into her own fantasies. She embodies a purity, a naiveté and an affectlessness beyond description. You can't understand why she is so perfect. Then you discover that she didn't even speak English and is speaking after phonetic coaching. Her impact transcends language.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:39 PM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Check out the link Grandysaur posts above. It's amazing stuff.

This is the movie I send people to when they're unlucky enough to be stuck nearby when I'm ranting about how The Artist doesn't capture the experience of silent film (I mean, it's fine, it's a good movie and all, it's fine). You want to understand the silent spectacle, watch The Fall. Don't want to get into spoilers here, but that ending, man. Tarsem is a goofball and dialogue is not really his thing, but he's up there with Malick in his command of imagery.
posted by thetortoise at 2:06 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


(and on that note...

Is there anything comparable out there when it comes to a director trying to directly film stream of consciousness?

Tree of Life Tree of Life Tree of Life)
posted by thetortoise at 2:09 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's made me react with tears to Beethoven's 7th with an almost dog-whistle level of predictability

You know, there's a cure for that named in this very thread...
posted by thetortoise at 2:13 AM on October 3, 2015


I like to describe The Fall as "the perfect movie about Tabletop Roleplaying Games" because even though it doesn't have elves or orcs or wizards, it is all about collaborative storytelling. I wouldn't believe that Tarsem was a gamer, but his idea of how one person can say, "ok, here's this person and this world" and have that vision be in the other person's imagination and then it becomes a back and forth of "ok, hero does this." "It would be more awesome if they did this other thing instead." " ok, hero does other thing." All of that is perfect.

That isn't even getting into how the movie just says, "ok, you're on a tropical island, but you swim to shore and find a mysterious kechak monkey ritual in a steamy jungle" like you're playing with a gamemaster who modeled their game world on too many rewatches of Baraka.

Which is all to say, the movie's story being a glorious, unapologetic mess is actually a feature and a familiar ritual for many of us who roll 20 sided dice with our friends on weekends. Anyone who plays tabletop should have this movie in their library, it'll be more true to your experience than any Tolkein derivative.
posted by bl1nk at 3:29 AM on October 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Sunburnt : I'm not sure if I buy Tarsem's claim of no CGI, even allowing for the reasonable claim that color correction isn't CGI (it also ain't an in-camera effect in this case, boy-o)

Since it isn't possible to load black-and-white film into a digital camera, I'm not what you would accept as "not CGI". Does resizing the video to a lower resolution or cropping the frame seem quasi-CGI to you, too?
posted by IAmBroom at 10:39 AM on October 3, 2015


CGI has become slang for 3D modeling effects and software compositing. Which I don't think is technically correct but rather like "PC" and "hacker" are likely lost causes.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:47 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's definitely at least one match-moved morph transition in that film so I think the claim of 'no CGI' has to be along the lines of 'no 3D geometry'.
posted by whittaker at 9:05 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The imagery in this movie is amazing, as is a lot of the imagery in the otherwise bland (to me) The Cell. And there is one scene in 10.000 BC, with the ships with the red sails on the river, which is equally evocative.

To me it's like moving art; not those crappy art instalations with usually looped, badly scratched/grainy, oh-so-edgy film playing on a screen, but HD, moving, stylistic art, like a hyper-real budhist monk with his orange robes flapping in the wind, showing the beauty and the lovely kinetics humans and nature can produce.
posted by MacD at 11:31 AM on October 6, 2015


MacD, have you seen Samsara?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:23 PM on October 6, 2015


MacD, have you seen Samsara?

It's up at internet archive fyi
posted by juv3nal at 3:11 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


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