Well let me tell you now - this film is like Marmite. You will either love this film or hate it.
Me? I loved it.
First the negatives - some will find it slow-paced and weird and on the surface level kind of plot-less and pointless. If you are not used to thinking a little harder about your movies this might not be the movie for you.
If you are still reading - well done! - because in reality this is a beautiful stunning movie that has great depth and great acting.
The plot is simple. California, 1915. A little girl, recovering in hospital from a fall, is befriended by a stuntman who is also recovering from a fall that appears to have left him paralyzed.
She is bored and wants company. He is depressed and wants to kill himself.
Out of these needs arises a tale of mystic magic, grand adventure, love, death and ultimately redemption.
Filmed without any of today's special effects so commonly used and relying solely on the lens and perspective, director Tarsem Singh creates a visually stunning and surreal film canvas that is truly a work of art in its own right.
Within the celluloid images, Singh also asks valid questions of his audience - questions about reality and imagination, about religion and deliverance, about love - all the while exploring our love of stories and story-telling.
I do not necessarily agree with some of his points - Singh portrays religion here as a bad thing that betrays our main characters, while Darwin and his pet monkey (oh the irony, I know!) are portrayed as holding the answers to much of the mysteries of life. And yet his conclusion - that love and our own humanity is what redeems us long after religion and science and darwinism have left the scene - is a fitting and suitable ending to this Picasso-esque fairytale.
Singh draws out a very good performance from Lee Pace (Pushing Up Daisies) as the struggling stuntman in need of deliverance. But Singh's greatest achievement in this film is capturing the essence of childlike curiosity and imagination and innocence with newcomer, Catinca Untaru. You will fall in love with this child. The delightful 5 year old Romanian's performance has got to be one of the most remarkable performances of a newcomer on the big screen and well worth making this film a must-see on it's own merit.
Like I said, some people will just not get this film but if you are a fan of movie-making and being challenged and inspired this film comes highly recommended and makes my top three films of the year so far. A beautiful piece of film art and story-telling.