I had no idea what to expect from Jonathan Glazer‘s new short film, THE FALL. Glazer’s most recent film, Under the Skin (starring Scarlett Johansson), was released in 2013. Since Under the Skin was such a bizarre cinematic masterpiece, I had high hopes for THE FALL.
I was not disappointed.
THE FALL shows a masked man being tormented by an also-masked mob. They shake him out of a tree where he is perched, take a group selfie with him…and then try to execute him by hanging him in a subterranean gallows. The man manages to survive; the last shot of the film is the protagonist inching his way up the death chute.
This film is creepy and unsettling in a few different ways. The first would have to be the masks that the characters wear. The masks are humanoid, almost Kabuki-esque, and frozen into expressions of fear, aggression, awe, and sadistic joy. They lend a surrealist and uncanny valley quality to the film. The masks also intensify the attempted lynching by depersonalizing every individual involved in the action.
The other level of creepiness in THE FALL lies in the fact that we don’t know what led to the events in the film. Did the protagonist commit some heinous crime that warranted this act of vigilante justice? Or has the mob unfairly targeted this person? Because of the lack of background, we can only speculate on Glazer’s intentions.
THE FALL is available for your viewing pleasure online now. If you’re a fan of Black Mirror (specifically the episode “White Bear”), you’ll probably enjoy THE FALL, which you can check out for free here.