Monday, April 13, 2020
Nate Hood's Quarantine Capsule #8 Fall Guy  ★★★★
It’s a blistering opening that creates a Brechtian tension that lasts the rest of the film that prevents us from suspending our disbelief, telling us that Fall Guy is a deliberate attempt to make a movie about movies that is simultaneously every movie ever made. It’s purposeful artifice taken to the nth degree that haphazardly borrows from every genre imaginable: there’s a forceful sex scene straight out of a roman porno right after a sunny day instantaneously breaks into a thunderstorm when one character collapses into tears; moments of tenderness between new lovers are shot like cloying sweet romantic melodramas right out of the Fifties; “action” scenes on set are shot like chanbara complete with dangerous stunts and large arcs of blood; when the protagonist gets hurt during a shoot his face gets covered with ostentatiously fake bruises, cuts, and bumps. This is not a film about reality, but the reality that can only exist in movies and the sheer joy that comes from creating it.
The plot, though novel, hits every stereotypical melodramatic beat imaginable once it gets going: a hapless stuntman gets shanghaied into marrying the pregnant girlfriend of a leading man in exchange for better parts, gets an inflated head, eventually becomes an egomaniac, but finally redeems himself by performing a lethally dangerous stunt on a goliathan staircase. So much of it is predictable, but because of this odd liminal reality Fukasaku’s created where the movie itself feels like an over-the-top movie-within-a-movie, it feels fresh and delightful.