The Fall (1999)

Rating: C-

Dir: Andrew Piddington
Star: Craig Sheffer, Hélène de Fougerolles, Jürgen Prochnow, Sandor Teri

Adam Ellis (Sheffer), is a writer in Budapest – in a rare twist, the Hungarian capital actually plays itself – whose life is thrown into turmoil when D.O. Marta (de Fougerolles) comes crashing into her former apartment, which is now his. Her tale is of kidnap, murder and rape at the hands of former Communist politician Kovacs (Prochnow), now a successful businessman. Bullshit or not? You decide…

Sheffer, looking more like Kurt Russell than he did in Nightbreed, makes his mind up early on – personally, I’d wait a little longer before leaping into bed with someone who has just knocked on my door, blood-stained straight razor strapped to her thigh, but there you go. This kind of idiocy makes it difficult to work with the hero, and the problem is, there isn’t anyone else to go with. His girlfriend is a slut (indeed, everyone in Budapest appears to be), Kovacs might or might not be a psycho, and ditto for Marta, whose French accent also seems wildly out of place.

The ending also leaves a lot to be desired. You almost get the feeling the final scenes were tacked on after test screenings, they seem so unattached. It’s a significantly more satisfying film without them, though even if you switch off five minutes before the end, you’re unlikely to have more than a passable time. There’s perhaps less to complain about here than in When Strangers Appear, but there is also a great deal less worth remembering.