TL;DR – Captures that tension of being isolated from the world with rescues just being out of reach at all times.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to view this film.
Fall Review –
As we get closer to the end of the year, there has been one film that I have been avoiding. I have a deep fear of heights, and seeing an epic tale of survival (maybe) half a km up in the air on the big screen was a bit of a stretch. But on the small screen, where I can pause and walk away, well, it is now time to give it a go.
So to set the scene, on a sheer cliff face, two married climbers Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Dan (Mason Gooding), make their way up the side of the mountain with their friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner). But just when they are going to make it to the top, Dan gets spooked by a bat and falls off the mountain. He tries to swing back when his anchor gives way, and he falls to his death. Fifty-one weeks later, Becky has cut herself off from the world and is at the bottom of a deep bottle pushing everyone, including her father, James Connor (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), away. Trying to help her friend get out of their funk, Hunter gets Becky to come out and climb a decommissioned 2,000-foot (610 m) B67 TV tower in the middle of the desert. The accent went well, but coming down is always the most challenging part.
The first thing Fall does very well is its depiction of the physicality of the space. We see the tower from many different angles from a distance, looming over us, a light on the horizon, metal ascending into nothingness. Before the first guide wire creaks, bolt wobbles, or a camera pan of corroded rust, you are already on board with the danger they are putting themselves in. The film waits a surprisingly long time before it does its first pan down to the ground below.
While there is a musical score in the film, it is used sparingly as the foley sounds of the wind do a lot of heavy lifting regarding the tone, danger, and even the excitement. Even though intellectually, I know they filmed this on a green screen or volume, that fear response triggered when they were hanging off the top of the tower to get the best selfie was real. That is because they put the work into making the backdrops, the lighting, and the wind line up with reality, so you feel that they are doing it for real, even if you know they are not.
Another strength is that I felt that the friendship between Becky and Hunter was real, which is essential given that most of the film is built upon. You need that when the tension is exploding and also for the quieter introspective moments. It also helps that most of their decisions [well, other than the one to climb it in the first place] feel entirely rational given their situation and lack of resources. While I found much of the film compelling, some moments felt oddly sanitised given the subject matter, and not all the visual effects worked. Still, given the micro-budget, the fact that the vast majority of them did is a testament to the artists.
In the end, do we recommend Fall? Well, if you have a fear of heights, you might want to give it a pass, and to be clear, it is not doing anything other than the scenario it is positing. However, with the constrained nature of the narrative, they tell a compelling story of survival and friendship. If there is one lesson you can take away from this film, other than you probably should know that bats live in crevasses on mountainsides, you should never blog and drive simultaneously. If you liked Fall, we would also recommend to you The Martian.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Fall
Directed by – Scott Mann
Written by – Scott Mann & Jonathan Frank
Music by – Tim Despic
Cinematography by – Miguel “MacGregor” Olaso
Edited by – Rob Hall
Production/Distribution Companies – Tea Shop Productions, BuzzFeed Studios, Capstone Pictures, Flawless & Lionsgate
Starring – Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Mason Gooding, Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Darrell Dennis
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13