Hello and welcome to episode 18 of Adventures in Netfix! Today I’ll be reviewing the 2006 movie The Fall.
The Fall is a powerful and imaginative work of fantasy; both a sweeping, visually stunning epic, and a painfully intimate tale. There is a sense of familiarity to The Fall brought on not by its resemblance to any other work of fiction, but for its visceral portrayal of the human imagination itself.
Set in the 1920s, The Fall centers around Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), a five year old girl stuck in a hospital (and a large cast) after breaking her arm falling from a citrus tree while working in her family’s orchard. One day she meets Roy Walker (Lee Pace), a fellow patient who begins telling her an epic tale of adventure and revenge as a means of convincing the girl to steal pills for him from the hospital dispensary.
The chemistry between Pace and Untaru felt genuine, and there was a surprising believability to their conversations and interactions. Their scenes felt natural and spontaneous, and Untau’s lines never sounded forced or extracted, as can sometimes happen with young child actors. The quality of Untaru’s performance likely owes as much credit to the skill and patience of her director and co-stars as to her own charm and natural talent (of which she has ample supply), something that can be easy to forget, especially when a movie gets it right.
While the real world story is touchingly personal and sincere, the tale concocted by Roy and brought gorgeously to life by Alexandria’s imagination is grandiose and enthralling in a way reminiscent of certain epic mythologies. The visual style of these scenes, and the locations themselves, are striking and otherworldly, evoking a sense of dreamlike surrealism that seems highly fitting given their origin.
The rest of the cast, most of whom show up both in the real world as well as in the story, in some cases playing an exaggeration or caricature of themselves, are quite good. Most of the supporting characters appear too briefly in the real world to show much nuance or development, and their counterparts in the story are mostly larger than life archetypes, but this never feels like a drawback, as the writing and acting are strong enough to give them all the subtlety and believability they require to be compelling.
All in all, The Fall is a captivating, unique work of fantasy not quite like anything else I’ve ever seen. If it sounds at all interesting to you than please, check it out; The Fall is well worth your time.