'The Fall': Tarsem Singh's take on a complex friendship

Some of the set pieces are ravishing, more often they're ravishingly clumsy.

No, this is not an adaptation of the Albert Camus novel. Director Tarsem Singh, the music-video whiz who gave us "The Cell," is one of those filmmakers who doesn't think he's doing his job if he isn't making our eyes bug out every second.

A lovelorn movie stunt man (Lee Pace) is recuperating from a fall in a 1915 Los Angeles hospital and befriends a precocious 5-year-old girl (Catinca Untaru) in the hopes that she will steal enough morphine for him to end it all. He keeps her interest by recounting a series of Arabian Nights-style tales that Singh mounts as full-scale costume dramas filmed across 28 countries. Some of the set pieces are ravishing, more often they're ravishingly clunky. Grade: B- (Unrated.)

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