Opening 12 Mar 2009
Stunt man Roy Walker (Lee Pace) suffers an unfortunate fall during filming and must lie in a hospital bed in Los Angeles circa 1920. Another patient, little five-year-old Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), visits him to hear his adventure stories about a cowboy, an Indian, a Turk, and a Brit named Darwin, among others. They roam the earth in search of beautiful Lady Evelyn whom they must rescue. For this they consult a mystic who lives in a tree. Roy weaves his fellow patients into roles in the story. They become alive and healthy and wear beautiful costumes. Alexandria is fascinated, but eventually realizes that Roy needs her for his own purpose. He wants her to steal morphine from the hospital pharmacy in order to commit suicide over his lost love who ditched him for his film’s leading man.
Director Tarsem Singh is well-known for his commercials (Nike, Coke) and music videos (Losing my Religion by R.E.M.). This is his second film after The Cell. The Fall showed at the 2007 Berlinale. I won’t complain that it took a long time to reach the cinemas; I am just so grateful that it is coming. The story is part The English Patient, part Pan’s Labyrinth with the most beautiful camera work in extraordinary settings. Each shot is a feast for the eyes supported by music which holds its own splendidly in this fabulous fairy tale. Young Catinca Untaru is excellent. The ending is a tribute to movies as a genre and to stunt men in particular. It was filmed in 18 places such as South Africa, India, Bali, Fiji, Italy, Spain, Romania, China, Chile, Prague, Brazil, Turkey, Egypt and Cambodia. It is a romance, an adventure story and a welcome escape from our own mundane lives. (Becky Tan)