Monday With Mildred: “Fall”

Fall movie poster


My absolute just-shoot-me-now because I can’t IMAGINE doing it even a little, is climbing. Not only am I not able to convey in strong enough terms how much I don’t understand people who climb for fun – for FUN! – but I can’t even easily watch it on screen. I learned this years ago when I came across a video of a man changing a lightbulb. My body did strange things, like hyperventilating as I sat at my desk not 300 feet above sea level, and my palms sweated buckets. Even now, after having watched it maybe a dozen times over the years, my palms sweat and my mind insists that THIS time he’s going to fall. The only person I showed this to who didn’t make it through the first 30 seconds is CFR. I don’t think she’ll watch this movie.

After losing her husband in a rock climbing accident, Becky (Grace Currey, Shazam!) goes on a year long bender. She certainly doesn’t intend to ever climb again, but her dad calls her once best friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner, American Horror Stories, Halloween) to try and talk her into living her life again. They haven’t seen each other since they both watched Dan fall, but they quickly rekindle their close friendship. Hunter insists Becky come with her to climb a derelict 2000 foot radio tower, for fun, to post on her daredevil blog, to scatter Dan’s ashes, and to get back on the horse called life. So yeah, they get stuck at the top.

It’s obvious from the jump (heh, heh) that the tower is completely unsafe, with several shots of shaking pipe, rusted steel and very loose bolts, especially on the ladder. I was impressed with the nice balance in the story of how utterly stupid the two women are, but super resourceful at the same time. I was also impressed with how well certain elements were set up for use later in the film. For a movie that has the leads stuck on a ledge the size of a coffee table 2000 feet in the air, I was impressed at how quickly the story moved along. There was never a dull moment, even when they weren’t dangling by their fingertips.

Director Scott Mann (Heist, The Tournament) did a bang up job with making the set completely believable. There was not a moment your mind won’t believe those two women are really stuck and super stupid high in the air. He and co-writer Jonathan Frank (Maya, The Tournament) seem to have no problem at all with making the women complete people in their movie. They have motivations that go beyond losing her husband, into dealing with grief and not letting life get away from you due to fear.

The set was incredible. There was very little done that wasn’t practical. In other words, the actresses really were up in the air on a tiny, rusted tower. The wind was whipping in their hair, the blisters on their hands were real, and the terror on Becky’s face as the ladder falls out from under her was real, because both of the women did their own stunts. I was also impressed at how hard the production had to work in the fickle desert. Nature conspired against them more than usual, with 60 mph winds some days, a thunderstorm, and a humongous colony of flying ants.

This movie is tight. My palms were sweating from the opening scene. I watched some parts from behind my hands, and we both felt our hearts racing more than a little. The most common things I yelled at the screen was, “Put the backpack over BOTH your shoulders!” and “No! Nope! Nooooo!” As with Stairway to Heaven, I kept waiting for something to fall. It was that realistic. I’m not even going to make a joke about CFR watching this film, because she’s a friend and I don’t want to hurt her. But if you think you can handle it, absolutely I recommend this one for a terrifying time.


CFR: In Addition:

Oh sweet friend Mildred you DO know me so well! However, go ahead and make jokes about this movie and me NOT watching it all you want! It looks GREAT! And there is no effing way I wouldn’t pass out/lose my bladder or bowels/need hospitalization due to panic as I AM AFRAID OF HEIGHTS. Like 6″ off the ground looks high to me. I know what panic feels like: I’ve felt it often every time I look down from a first floor balcony or a step box. The acid feel that goes through my body is real.

So as much as I would want to see this movie, I’m really glad Mildred saw it for me. She had to watch the rest of the man changing a lightbulb as NO WAY COULD I HANDLE THAT!!!!

Joke away, dear friend. Joke away!

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