It’s true, the movie’s kind of boring. Why? Despite a brilliantly funny child actress playing an injured girl in a infirmary, The Fall simply lacks any forward motion and conviction. We don’t know where it’s going and we don’t care. Lee Pace — however much I adore him — is not a strong lead. He’s depressed about something and lacks the gravitas or viciousness (either would be fine) to make us care. When we do find out what’s his problems are — and what he plans to do about it — we care even less. The problem is trivial and its solution maudlin. Tarsem spends too much time in this world.
His fantasy world is more interesting, but here too, slow editing and an uninteresting storyline plague the plot.
Everything needed to be faster, wittier and much much more provocative. At almost 2 hours, the Fall should have been 90 minutes, with the majority of that time spent in Tarsem’s beautiful but not nearly complex enough or sardonic enough fantasy world.
What’s sad is that there are clearly glimmers of brilliance. There’s an interesting subtheme about the dawn of cinema — specifically “special effects” cinema — that could have been further explored. Still too, some of the characters in the real world had fantasy world doppelgangers. Both characters would have been enlivened with more context and character development.
Isn’t as transcendent as it wants to be, but Mamet smartly bends the conventions of the sports movie — spending more than half the movie explaining how the fighter got to the match. As is typical for Mamet, the dialogue is dense and rapid and the plot slightly convoluted (but flows easily). The makes the movies engaging to watch, distracting you from realizing that not much is happening.
In the end, the themes are familiar: one lone man has the faith to believe in something greater than money or self-gain and has to fight the forces around him — including his wife! — to vindicate his belief in the higher power. Mamet stops at the vindication, cutting off the movie right when it should end: after our hero, up to his neck in crap (a lawsuit, counter-suit, suicide, betrayal, debt) and perhaps his convictions dwindling, realizes his ideals can still empower him.
Chiwetel Ejiofor leaves the film as something of a sex symbol and a more acting cred to boot. I’ll put it plainly: he’s hot.
It was entertaining. But I don’t remember the previous ones, I was too young when I saw them. So I have no strong feelings on this. 🙁