Precious Bodily Fluids

The Fall

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Tarsem Singh’s previous film The Cell was an exercise in psychoanalytic cinema at the most un-subtle possible level, as well as in really poor casting (Vince Vaughn as a P.I., Jennifer Lopez as the mind-trekker). Most recently, “Tarsem,” as he is simply known, indulged in what is clearly a labor of love, The Fall. Anywhere you read about it, there seems to be the urge for people to point out that it was filmed “in 20 different countries over a 4-year period,” as if that kind of explains its self-proclaimedly (literally) “epic” nature. A good case has been made here arguing for a cult-classic status for the film. Certainly the cinematography is a thing to behold, with a striking visual texture and exceedingly bright colors. Beyond that, this is a very odd movie, one difficult to define. At every point when it seems to fit into some kind of genre, it defies classification, but not in any coherent or deliberate way. The story is told without a goal in mind, the arbitrary narrative of a depressed, possibly-paralyzed man who wants to entertain an injured girl in order to persuade her to steal meds so that he can end his misery. The story he tells presents itself as an allegory, but it seems devoid of any referent in the real world. The two of them become characters in the fairy tale, but it feels like a story for its own sake, or for the sake of the drugs. Humor pops in every so often, at times when it feels inappropriate to laugh, like a person who cracks jokes at the worst possible time. This is a non-psychoanalytic film with a poorly-told story and a very confused conclusion. It presents itself as a happy ending, though the man has completely ditched a girl and her needy family in order to pursue a succesful film career. Perhaps it can be said that this is a confused success, or an expertly conceived and bizarrely executed, genre-less series of images. Some have tried to compare or contrast it with Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, but the similarities seem to cease after a young female protagonist and the element of fantasy. There is surely something more constructive to be said about The Fall, and it must be admitted that preconceived notions about it may have prevented a proper reading.

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This entry was published on February 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm. It’s filed under 2000s Cinema, Indian Film and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “The Fall

  1. adamgust on said:

    I liked it. Yeah, that’s right. I love you.

  2. Yeah, I remember. And as always, I feel bad about it. But I love you, too.

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