Movie Review: The Falling

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Director: Carol Morley

Writer: Carol Morley

Stars: Maxine Peake, Maisie Williams, Florence Pugh

Verdict: Must do better

Well I have a DVD to sell now I guess. *sigh*

The Falling is set in a  1969 all girls boarding school and after a girl dies from, something, everyone seems to start fainting, all, the damn, time. It’s a bit Dead Poets Society, it’s a bit The Omen, and it has some very good stuff in it, but it’s all in service to this pseudo art, obnoxious, sub-Woolf, sub-Ford, sub-Jung, sub-The Exorcist, sub-The Craft, sub-Jane Eyre, sub-Macbeth, tosh. It has grown on me since watching but not a whole lot, and I didn’t like it much to begin with.

Number one, it is incredibly pretentious. It uses a lot of imagery that a layman wouldn’t get but at the same time is some of the most heavy handed, in your face, student film rubbish I’ve seen for quite some time. It has subliminals that were cool if vacuous at first, but quickly through irrelevance and over use just became obnoxious and irritating. In the end I’m finding this review hard because there is just not that much to say, and for a film that tries so hard to be interesting, and artsy, and provocative, to say I’d have more to say about Hocus Pocus is really the biggest damnation I can lay on it.

I’m kind of tired of the relation of pubescent females with the occult, or the moon with witches and females with nature and all of this kind of guff because it might have been interesting in the context of its creation but it’s been done either better or in a more interesting way by other people. I might have fundamental problems with these people but this film references people like Woolf and Freud and Jung and John Ford and Arthur Miller and in the end they’re just far more interesting. I spent the movie thinking of about 11 films I’d rather be watching than The Falling that The Falling references. The film might be criticizing these tropes in story telling, it might even be criticizing slut shaming in society and that’s all well and good, and laudable,.but honestly when a film is this up itself and dull I really can’t be bothered to find out.

There are good performances; Maisie Williams, (Game of Thrones) does the thing she does of being incredibly precocious, I still don’t think she’s a great actress but, well she does it fine, if nothing more; Maxine Peak, (The Theory of Everything, Silk), is actually fantastic; Greta Scacchi, (War & Peace, The Player) was, as always, great; and Joe Cole who was so brilliant in Green Room puts in a workman’s shift here; I do have a problem Monica Dolan, (Pride), who’s performance was just, hard, there was just absolutely no character there, at all, I couldn’t get into it. So there are good performances, and it’s shot very well, but it’s just in service of a film that’s entirely boring. My friend fell asleep.

I think in the end the film’s problem is that you’re meant to believe that these two girls at the beginning are so charismatic and so homogeneous that one of them dying can bring this out in them and their friends, but you just don’t because it’s just a bit wet, and the film doesn’t stick to it’s own rules, in the last act it goes a bit Rosemary’s Baby, and it becomes at points a bit ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and it’s just all a bit messy.

I’m very interested to see where debut director Carol Morley’s career goes in the future, but there were people, including me, laughing at the film, and you’re really not meant to. Disappointed.

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