Peter Malone MSC 5 October 2022

Two young climbers try to overcome memories of a tragedy by climbing a 2000-foot TV tower in the desert.

FALL, US, 2022. Starring Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Directed by Scott Mann. 107 minutes. Rated M (Sustained tension, injury detail and coarse language).

A necessary caution for those who are vertiginously inclined, afraid of heights, and agoraphobic… As the title indicates, in a film about climbers there is always the possibility of a fall.

This film is definitely about climbers, opening with them on bare high rock faces, but the main focus is on two young women, deciding to climb a 610m (2000-foot) high television tower in the desert. So, audiences identifying with the enthusiastic daring of the young women, and enjoy climbing, this is your film.

One of the intriguing aspects while watching is thinking how you put together a film about climbing and its dangers in such a way that the audience feels it is doing the climbing as well is surviving at the top of the tower.

The way filmmakers keep our interest is, of course, by introducing the human elements, the relationship between the two girls, the husband of one of them, the anxious father who disapproved of the marriage, difficulties and the different ways of coping, drinking to forget, or just getting out there and facing the reality. Which means then that in the background of the climbing is a great deal of sentiment with touches of melodrama.

In the old days of the 20th century, with the Saturday matinee programs, there were the serials, with each week’s episode ending with a ‘cliffhanger’. And, this is how the drama works in Fall. One after the other, the young women are challenged by all kinds of difficulties, testing their ingenuity, possible solutions, the excitement of trying out each solution and the dismay when all of them – all of them – fail. Which means that along with identifying with the climbers, we are identifying with the situations and experiencing the cliffhangers. (And they range from a bag with water dropping, circling vultures, two men who actually steal the climbers’ car, phones, a flair, a drone, and vivid hallucinations.)

So, a film of some vicarious thrills but also the best part of two hours and plenty of potential for agoraphobia.

Released 29 September