Those who’ve kept tabs on Nielsen ratings for ABC’s Pushing Daisies know it’s no Six Feet Under.
The quirky dramedy — starring Lee Pace as a man able to revive, and re-corpse, the dead with the touch of his finger — is drawing the second-lowest ratings of any scripted show on the network. And the cast and crew have yet to hear from ABC brass whether they’ll be asked to continue filming episodes beyond Nov. 12.
Pace has been in this predicament before on a series that didn’t last nearly as long — Fox’s Wonderfalls (co-created by Daisies creator Bryan Fuller). Should Daisies take the ultimate dirt nap, those who’ve grown sweet on the pie-maker Pace plays can unearth a true DVD delicacy — The Fall, in which Pace plays the lead role of Roy.
Using only his first name professionally, Tarsem Singh came to prominence for directing the 1991 video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” Nine years later, Singh made his feature-film debut with one of the decade’s best films — The Cell, a serial-killer sci-fi drama starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D’Onofrio.
In 2002, Singh began production on The Fall. It’s a dark fable set in the 1920s about a bargain and bond between a suicidal stuntman (Pace) and a young girl (Catinca Untaru) for whom he spins fantastical stories that come to life onscreen.
The shocker? The Fall didn’t hit U.S. screens until earlier this year.
Self-funding the film, Singh piggybacked production of exterior shots onto commercial work he did around the world. The Fall was shot in 26 locations across 18 countries.
Principal photography commenced in 2004, the film hit the festival circuit in 2006, and The Fall finally opened in regular release (in Russia) in January. Presented by fellow filmmakers David Fincher and Spike Jonze, The Fall opened stateside in May.
From a director who dedicated so much time and energy, there are bound to be moments of indulgent excess. But the breathtakingly beautiful, jaw-dropping images burn onto your brain.
Something like a Sir David Lean epic crossed with trippy offshoots of tall tales of Zorro, Ali Baba and Pecos Bill rolled into one, The Fall is a sun-kissed companion piece to Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth.
It certainly tells as humanistic a story – a grand ode to the power of the moving image. It’s a profound meditation on the intersections of imagination, inspiration and innocence and the perils of losing any of them — a fierier version of The Princess Bride or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
Pace delivers a compassionate, demonized performance, while Untaru (a Romanian child who was 7 years old at the time of shooting) has that blend of curiosity, wonderment, practicality and sarcasm that only comes from a combination of great direction and natural instinct.
Through the symbolism those two actors bring to their characters’ stories, the movie soars on its message of hope: The empowerment of fiction in our own lives is that we can edit our own story and choose our own adventures.
The Fall is presented in a dazzling 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer with energetic Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Extras include: a commentary with Singh; a commentary with Pace, writer-producer Nico Soultanakis and co-writer Dan Gilroy; deleted scenes; and two behind-the-scenes featurettes.
A Blu-ray release also is available, and its dynamic range should serve as reference-quality for videophiles.