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

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

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.