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{Movie Review} Fall (2022)

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Virginia Gardner (Left, “Hunter”) and Grace Caroline Currey (Right, “Becky”) in FALL
Courtesy of Lionsgate

Fall attempts to do for Free Solo what 47 Meters Down did for Shark Week. That is to bring the terror of extreme hobbies to the big screen. There is no doubt that the rewards of mountain climbing are well established. Shows like American Ninja Warrior have helped ingrain the skills and talent behind this hobby into the popular zeitgeist. The big question; can a movie sustain the fear of being stranded two thousand feet up for ninety minutes. The answer, mostly yes. While Fall has some significant issues it mostly sticks the landing (cough) and provides some stunning and terrifying vistas while doing so.

For best friends Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner), life is all about conquering fears and pushing limits. But after they climb 2,000 feet to the top of a remote, abandoned radio tower, they find themselves stranded with no way down. As Becky and Hunter try to survive, they must rely on their climbing skills and each other. To complicate matters Becky must deal with the grief of losing her husband to a recent tragic climbing accident.

Currey and Gardner are full on stars that do an admirable job carrying the film. And carry the film they must. The only other characters of any import are Becky’s husband (Mason Gooding) who falls (ahem) early and Jeffrey Dean Morgan who plays her father. Morgan does a fine job playing the concerned father but has a total of about ten lines the entire film. It is Currey and Gardner’s movie and if they weren’t up to the task it would be glaringly obvious. The duo have a solid chemistry that offers up a plausible explanation for the movie’s conceit even if it is a bit far fetched. Hunter’s character is a bit rough to handle from time to time. Her character development falls into the “insufferable influencer” trope which reflects Hollywood’s inability to grapple with how influencers are reshaping American entertainment.

Courtesy of Lionsgate

Fall should be seen in a theatre on the largest screen possible. While I caught this film via a screening link on my home theatre setup the countless vistas we get of both actors climbing the antenna and hanging on at the top for dear life. The real danger of the shoot is well documented. While the actors were not really two thousand feet in the sky they were close to sixty feet up and that within itself seems perilous. The scale of the shoot offers up a compelling reason to check out Fall. That scale translates into a viewing experience that will scare even the strongest of audience members.

Do you suffer from Acrophobia? Don’t worry if you don’t you will after checking out Fall, especially in IMAX if you can find a theatre. The stomach churning vertigo starts in the first fifteen minutes and doesn’t stop until the end. All of this to say, if I found myself in Hunter and Becky’s situation my happy ass I am tapping out early. I could barely handle watching two fictional trained climbers handle the stress of the situation. If Jordan Peele gave us Nope earlier in the summer, then Fall gives us a resounding HELL NO at the end of the summer. Hell no, I am not going to climb an antenna. Hell no, I am not going to hang out on the top of said antenna. And finally hell no, I am not going to survive if the ladder falls off.

Director Scott Man and writing partner Jonathan Frank developed Fall initially as a short. As a result it could feel like the film is overlong. However Fall never feels stretched for time. With only two principle characters, the film could have dragged or felt tedious. However the script and editing propel the movie forward from one absolutely terrifying disaster to the next. In much the same way I verbally respond to dangerous stunts on Tik-Tok I had the same running commentary throughout Fall.

“No don’t do that”.

“Why would anyone think that is fun”?

“All the bolts appear loose, maybe turn around”?

If tension were to manifest into an tangible object, no doubt it would perch precariously on a platform two thousand feet up in the air. Fall comes out Friday August 12th.