Fall

Before I start, can I say that you will need a robust constitution to stay the length of the new high-concept film, Fall. If you don’t have a head for heights, then maybe this won’t be the movie for you. If, however, you can cope with a film that will induce so much stress and anxiety that your palms will be sweating from the start, this is a rollercoaster ride that will leave you never wanting to climb anything again.

Suffering a tragedy from a climbing accident, Becky has been living at the bottom of a glass for a year, ignoring the pleas from her father to snap out of her slump. Her best friend, Hunter, a social media thrill-seeker, decides to take her on an adventure that will hopefully bring her back, to climb a deserted radio tower in the middle of nowhere. The pair head up the 2,000-foot rusty object, but once they reach the top, things start going unbelievably wrong.

Let’s start by saying that this is a ridiculous movie. The film is built around the concept that two women would climb what is obviously a dangerous structure without letting anyone know where they are and what they are doing. They even pass a sign that announces, “No Trespassers! Danger of Death!” If that isn’t warning enough, I don’t know what is. However, if you can look over their behaviour, this becomes one of the most gripping thrillers I have sat through.

British director Scott Mann, who also co-wrote the script, uses some clever technical tricks to build the tension and to keep you shuffling in your seats for the whole of the running time. You are up there with the two women, living their every moment, and they have misery after misery thrown at them throughout. Having to use their wits and make some very dubious decisions, otherwise death seems to be the only solution, you spend your time not only part of their dilemma but thinking, “what would I do?”

For a film with such a small budget, approximately $3 million, this is definitely the little film that could. Shot on IMAX cameras; this puts some of the more recent big blockbusters to shame. The effects are almost seamless, the concept is not complicated but overplotting, and, apart from the silliness of the situation, it never tries to be anything else but a film that will grab its audience by the throat and refuse to let go. The cinematography, by Spanish cameraman MacGregor, is often artistic and beautiful to look at, considering that it takes place 2,000 feet above the desert. Some of the shots are impressive and inventive. How exciting can you make a shoe fall from a tower?

For the whole thing to work, you have to have actors who can make it all believable, and by casting two unknowns, you get a much higher level of peril. Grace Fulton and Virginia Gardner are perfect as Becky and Hunter. Fulton deals with the pain and the fear she is suffering exceptionally well, and we feel for her. It’s precisely how we would feel if we were in that situation. Virginia Gardner, looking like a young Reece Witherspoon, brings energy and sparkle as a 21st Century girl who lives for her followers, even if it means risking her life to get likes. So they skillfully take us on their journey, hoping this will allow them to move on to bigger projects.

Fall isn’t perfect. It may make you slap your forehead several times and question how a mobile phone can have so much battery life. Yet it’s also one of the most exciting movies I have seen this year. If you don’t suffer from bouts of vertigo, I would say go and be amazed that such a small movie can be so big and better than most others this year.

4 out of 5

Director: Scott Mann

Starring: Grace Fulton, Virginia Gardner, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mason Gooding, Jasper Cole.

Written by: Jonathan Frank and Scott Mann

Running Time: 107 mins

Cert: 15

Release date: 2nd September 2022

One Comment Add yours

  1. bobmann447 says:

    Nice review Stu and quite agree, with both your comments and your rating. And thanks for the prompt about Reese Witherspoon… it was really bugging me who she reminded me of. I loved this one, which might make one of my coveted Films of the Year… just did what it said on the tin, brilliantly. My review here: https://bob-the-movie-man.com/2022/08/31/fall-15-i-fell-for-the-low-budget-vertiginous-thriller/

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