Can Tarsem Singh suck his own cock? After suffering through The Fall, all signs—water-logged feathers, steaming locomotives, sinister x-ray technicians, a set of fans rigged to form a veil, oranges and dentures galore, prosthetic legs, a labyrinthine maze, exotic butterflies, whirling dervishes, swimming elephants—point to yes. As in The Cell, the plot is a feeble framing device for what is, no more and no less, a wearying nosedive through a self-indulgent imagination, a succession of allusive images and Baraka-style jaunts to modern and ancient corners of the globe, and though The Fall lacks for the alluring empathy Jennifer Lopez brought to The Cell, it achieves something close to it through Catinca Untaru. As Alexandria, a five-year-old girl with a broken arm staying at a 1915 Los Angeles hospital, Untaru fumbles preciously through her lines, her greenness fortuitously hinting at the displacement foreign people feel in a strange land. Hers is the only organic aspect of this tapestry of music-video shorthand, a torrent of unemotive visual pizzazz—think Singh’s already shallow, Tarkovsky-mongering “Losing My Religion” clip for R.E.M. stretched to an intolerable two hours—unleashed when Alexandria meets the lonely Roy Walker (Lee Pace) and he starts spinning a story about an avant-garde Village People that includes Charles Darwin traveling the world to destroy the mysterious Governor Odious. The general outline of his fantasy is a projection of his own real-life insecurities, but the more colorful details are all references to Singh’s favorite things, from Dali and Jodorowsky to Svankmajer and Romanek, and such is the self-absorption of the thing that Roy, even after he’s learned to accept life after putting Alexandria’s in danger, barrages the girl with thoughts of death and destruction as she recovers from surgery on a hospital table, and when the sun projects the image of a horse through a keyhole, the animal appears upside down on a wall behind Alexandria, as if keyholes were equipped with prisms. Shunning logic and compassion, The Fall is a bedtime story impeccably designed to flatter its own maker. And chronic masturbators.
- Roadside Attractions
- 116 min
- Tarsem Singh
- Dan Gilroy, Nico Soultanakis, Tarsem Singh
- Catinca Untaru, Justine Waddell, Lee Pace, Kim Uylenbroek, Aiden Lithgow, Sean Gilder, Ronald France, Andrew Roussouw, Michael Huff, Grant Brett Swanby, Emil Hostina, Robin Smith, Jeetu Verma, Leo Bill, Marcus Wesley
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: