The Falls

"Good"

The Falls Review


Calling The Falls a mockumentary is like calling Roots "a TV show." Yeah, it's accurate, but that doesn't really get to the truth.

Wrapping up Peter Greenaway's earliest years as a filmmaker, The Falls is a three hour indie epic, a film about nothing and everything all at once. It's maddeningly infuriating: Concentrate on its stories for more than a few minutes and your brain turns into a pretzel. Look away, though, and you feel you're missing something.

Well, you are, and you aren't. Here's the gist of The Falls: The film is presented, almost middle-school-classroom-documentary style, as a record of an alternate past, one in which the Violent Unknown Event ("the V.U.E.") has affected some 19 million people worldwide. The V.U.E. is exactly a perfect name for what it was: A sudden occurance that affected some people at random and all at once, and has caused serious problems along with amazing new capabilities. Think of it as some kind of genetic mutation: Its sufferers have developed scales or freakish deformities (decalcification of the teeth, anyone?) or unbearable neuroses, and some have suddenly gained better eyesight, mental powers, and even immortality. If there is a running theme in the new "powers," most or all of the sufferers have gained new ability with languages and some strange kinship with birds -- which may have had something to do with the cause of the V.U.E. Not that anyone knows.

So what are "The Falls?" The Falls are 92 victims of the V.U.E., representing everyone in the master registry of V.U.E. sufferers, all of whom have last names that begin with the letters FALL. Except for husbands, wives, and children, none of the sufferers have anything to do with one another, and they're located all over the world, speaking numerous random (and made-up) languages.

Don't spend too much time trying to connect the dots. I think even Greenaway would discourage too much analysis. (Is the V.U.E. a symbol for the good and bad potentials of nuclear power? Hell, I dunno.) Everything here is nonsensical to a degree, on purpose. That's part of what the V.U.E. wrought. Why, even the names of the sufferers are random gibberish. (Bwythan Fallbutus?) Don't believe me? Here's a sample of the narration, chosen at random from the middle of the film:

"Her body reabsorbed her breasts and the tough digits of all her fingers and toes."

"When awake, she accompanied her sister in an extended dance, song, and talk marathon with the red folding chair."

"Against the whitewashed walls, the yellow door could be seen for several miles."

Okay, the last one makes sense, but you may be left wondering what a story about a woman who paints her door has to do with her V.U.E. case. The answer, of course, is nothing. Nothing at all. It is just meant to mess with your head in the worst way.

Coupled with Michael Nyman's disconcerting deranged organ grinder score, which jarringly kicks you during every interstitial title card with the name and number of each of the sufferers, The Falls is a real head-messer. Its value as cinema is, it goes without saying, iffy, but it's a perfect party movie. Put on the muted film along with your own music soundtrack and watch your guests' heads explode.

The DVD includes video pieces on this film and Vertical Features Remake, which is also included on the disc, plus paintings, archival materials, and essays about Greenaway's early work. Also available as part of Greenaway: The Early Films, which includes several of his short films.



The Falls

Facts and Figures

Run time: 195 mins

Distributed by: British Film Institute

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.