Fall is a movie about two young woman who enjoy mountain climbing going to climb a decommissioned B67 TV tower in the Mojave Desert and everything goes just smoothly. End credits.
I’m just joking. Of course, something goes wrong. Something always goes wrong. And since they’re mountain climbers for fun, there’s a prologue where a tragedy happens because it happened in Cliffhanger and it happened in Vertical Limit. Becky Connor (Grace Coraline Currey) and her husband, Dan (Mason Gooding), are enjoying a good afternoon mountain climbing with her friend, Shiloh Gardner (Virginia Gardner). But Dan loses his footing and falls to his death.
Nearly a year later, Becky has become depressed and spends her nights at the local bar and avoiding friends and family. This part of the movie I could’ve done without mainly because It doesn’t do much to the story. Becky’s father, James (Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a glorified cameo) does the usual It’s Time To Move On speech and through plot exposition dialogue, we learn that James never liked Dan.
But before the movie can explore this further, Hunter shows up with a plan. They’ll drive six hours out to the desert and climb the tower and spread his ashes from the top. Hunter tells Becky she has to get over her fear and she agrees. They head out but don’t contact anyone, mainly because what they’re doing is illegal, as the tower is in locked restricted area. Hunter is all gung-ho about it while Becky is nervous climbing up and if you’ve ever seen a movie like this, you know what will eventually happen to both characters.
They reach the top, take some pictures and video and spread Dan’s ashes but when Becky attempts to go back down, the loose screws and bolts come loose and undone on the ladder. Becky nearly falls but she’s attached to a rope connected to Hunter who is able to pull her back up. But the ladder has fallen down 2,000 feet and there’s no way they’re getting down.
Scott Mann, who directed the movie he co-wrote with Jonathan Frank, does give us some great visuals. And anyone who is afraid of heights will squirm. There’s a lot of tension in scenes especially when Hunter wants to foolishly hang from the metal grate and gets Becky to do the same. But once the ladder falls to pieces, so does the rest of the movie.
It’s 107 minutes with credits, but feels like it would’ve worked tighter if it was cut by 20-30 minutes. I was left with a lot of question. If Becky has a serious drinking problem, it would still be dangerous of her to climb because she could have the shakes as she’s trying to go sober. Even the novice climbers know to bring more than a 15-foot rope. They would also know to put the straps of the backpack across each shoulder, not just one. Climbing a 2,000 foot tower isn’t something you do just on a whim.
There’s only so much you can do with a story about two young women stranded so high in the air on a metal grate that has less than half the width and length of your average parking space. That might be why Mann and Frank felt the need to add a subplot that doesn’t add much to the story except to explain why Hunter would attempt to do something dangerous.
And then, there’s a twist that anyone who’s seen Adrift or Gravity can see as far as the horizon from atop this tower. This is why I said the movie should have been a lot shorter. But most people will probably still enjoy the movie and the bigger the screen is the more people will enjoy it. I’m suprised this wasn’t shown in IMAX. Produced on a small budget of $3 million, it made back almost seven times that with over $20 million.
The distributor, Lionsgate, demanded that some of the profanity be changed. There was reportedly over 30 uses of the F-bomb but Lionsgate had them redubbed and digitally altered in post-production. And despite what it appears, most was filmed atop of a 100 foot tall tower made the production.
But the dialogue and characters never seem real. I don’t know who they hired for a camera operator but it must’ve been a 14-year-old boy who gets constant erections. There’s so many scenes of Gardner in a shirt her cleavage seems to pop out at anytime. It almost reminds me of The Shallows in which there were numerous shots of Blake Lively from behind in a bikini bottom. And just like The Shallows, Mann and Frank had another plot device to the plot that adds no more than about five extra minutes that don’t accomplish anything.
And of course, there’s the obligatory no cell phone coverage trope that is often the case in these movies. There is a clever way they get some power to charge a battery but I’m just wondering would they really have lost cell phone coverage atop a communications tower.
What do you think? Please comment.