Monday, June 23, 2008

The Fall

Went to see a movie this weekend, and it was totally, utterly spectacular. I'm talking about the critically panned "The Fall" - the movie that is bumping aside "Iron Man" and "Kung Fu Panda" on my best movies this year list.

I almost don't want to review this movie because it would give things away that really should just be seen and experienced. There are three especially wonderful things about this movie:

1. Everything visual. Eiko Ishioka, my favorite graphic designer and one of my aesthetic influences, does the costume design (much as she did for the Director's earlier work, "The Cell" - don't think this is going to be a "The Cell 2" tho, it's much, much better!). All of the production design by Ged Clarke and the art direction by Lisa Hart is devastatingly gorgeous (and IMHO led by the spectacular costumes). For me the really amazing, refreshing, and wonderful thing is that all of the effects were done in-camera... no CG!! There are some sequences that have to be seen to be believed - elephants swimming, backgrounds becoming people, gates that dwarf skyscrapers. I'd say go see this movie just for the visuals. But there's more!

2. The story. This is a great, timeless story, that reminded me of all things of Muppet Babies. Bear with me! It has nothing childish or cute about it. It doesn't shirk from some really hard truths about life in the period it is set in (and life in general). But it does share the hope, optimism, and belief in the power of imagination that Jim Henson endowed into his creation. The movie is nothing less than a poem about storytelling and imagination, and how both can help change lives.

3. The acting. All of the supporting actors were wonderful in their roles. The leading man, Lee Pace, did a great job showing the humanity of a character that handled slightly differently could have come off as completely reprehensible. But it's Catinca Untaru as Alexandria that really makes this movie go from a really good art house film to something amazing and spectacular. She's totally natural, never overacting, yet she's as engaging and charismatic as Shirley Temple at her best. I can't think of another child actor I've ever seen who is as good as her.

So... go see "The Fall"

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