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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Noir is back....and its time to kick out the jams

Author: dofgfilms from US
17 November 2003

What do you get when you cross the hardest genre in film, a hungry director and crew, up and coming actors, Buffalo NY, and a film without film? You get The Falls. a dark moody thiller that helps to not only bring back the thought to be dead noir genre, but also shows how every small part adds up to a whole. Not one part of this film overshadows another as everyone involved should get equal billing for the fine product that they have created. The actors dont jump out of the screen and grab your attention, and you might even not remember some of thier names, and if you dont then you can take comfort in the fact that they have done their job then. There is no out-landish, studio happy, need to get their own action figure roles/actors here. What you get instead are actors playing real people, people that you can see on the streets and this lends itself great to the story. The realism of the characters, the grit that oozes off of them, the stone exterior, these are traits that people in these situations would actually display. Fear is a huge underlying emotion in this, and that is a real emotion that hollywood misses in thier films. Nobody is a bad-ass, they are just there, living thier life, doing what needs to be done. But i would like to single out at an actor in it, because of the sandtrap part that he played (this being a role that is so overdone and ruined in hollywood that we have come to see the characters in our sleep). Steve Brisoce who played one of the policemen turned in a perfromance that has so many levels i was refreshed to see a human approach taken to the character. I think that he could have easly turned on the cruise control and make the role average. Instead he chooses to play the role like someone who feels (gasp! a role of a policeman who cares? and not cause his wife and child just died in an explosion! Listen up hollywood, look at this performance and learn!!!) He does one of the most important actions an actor can do (which has become a lost art in movies and performaces today) he reacts, he listens and is reacting to what is happening to the other characters, not just waiting to get his lines in. Excellent performance by Steve Briscoe.

Onto the directing side. The best way that i can sum up Paul Denigris is to say that he has one of the best cinematic eyes that i have seen in a long time. This is not a man that is going to make movies, he is going make films(a word that is much overused talking about todays drudge). Instead of letting the camera lead the actors he wants the actors to lead us. Never at one point in the movie does it feel like you are looking at camera work, it is blending so nicley into the film that it is just our(the viewer's) perspective. He captures the feel of noir without blasting it over your head, or forcing you to feel everything. It all flows natural. I think that his next film will be a tough one for him as he has set such a high standard in my book, but im sure that he will come out on top.

If you get a chance to check this out, take it, and find out what a film should be. Oh yeah, did i mention that this was all accomplished on DV(not that you will believe me when you watch it)?

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Film Noir movie based in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area

Author: Mark Hanover from United States
13 April 2005

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it was beautifully filmed, and well written, the cast was very good, and features popular scenes from my home town that shows the city of Buffalo in a great light, Paul DeNigris is on his way to bigger and better things, and hopefully he will be bringing film-making to our fair city. I always enjoy seeing independent films, they are far more interesting and creative than the big budget commercial blockbusters, While this film is very stylish, it also has a great plot with plenty of twists at every corner. I was also impressed with the extra features included on this DVD. If your looking for a fun and very well made independent film you will not be disappointed...RENT THIS ONE!

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

I saw this at the Phoenix Film Festival

Author: DJAkin ( from AZ
3 April 2004

The director was there for a Q and A. This was a good film done in the film noir homage. I liked the plot and the twists were all very good that occurred at the end of the flick. I loved the two cops and was surprised to see that Briscoe was also a producer for the movie. When I walked into this movie, Rick Schroder was sitting there. Even though that has nothing to do with this movie, I just thought I would mention that. Anyway, on to the movie. The movie was done for under 75K. Kudos to the director, DeNegris, for making a good flick. Not bad for a first time feature film director.

I give this movie a good review.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

no, not a typical day in a typical life

Author: zimbo_the_donkey_boy from Calumet, Mich.
24 July 2007

Although I don't go all gaga over film noir thrillers, I enjoy them o.k. in general. However there's not one second, while watching The Falls, that the viewer is not thinking, "I'm watching a film noir movie," and I did grow to find that rather annoying. I dislike 99% of soundtrack music but I usually try to ignore it. That however is impossible with this movie.

OK, what about everything else? Well, it is a well-crafted and well-acted (except maybe the fight scenes) flick. If you love film noir thrillers, like redheaded babes (for guys) or this type of male (for gals), like jazz music with some rap music thrown in, like film festival selections (as opposed to the standard Hollywood pap), and like seeing a different setting than Los Angeles or New York City, then you may well enjoy this. The characters did all have the typical failing of acting stupidly (as is even commented on, by the narrator) but the multiple twists at the end were rather fun. Unlike with most films, I got the impression that everyone involved was trying to make the best movie they could, rather than simply the most money possible. And at least after watching The Falls, I didn't end up with the feeling that I'd wasted my time, as I often do with (random) DVDs that I borrow.

As for the DVD, I learned plenty, from the behind the scenes feature, which I wouldn't have realized about the making of the movie otherwise. The movie's bonus commentary track also was interesting and enlightening (which often isn't the case.)

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Other than name actors, what more could you want?

Author: Daniel Jackson from USA
28 November 2004

Considering the state of the independent film industry these days - where you need "name" actors just to get noticed, let alone to get into the likes of Sundance - it is indeed a major accomplishment that writer-producer-director (and more) Paul DeNigris made his little $75k movie with no stars and not only got it into 5 film festivals but also got it distributed. The film's acceptance into the IFP Market - the event that launched Edward Burns, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino to name a few - speaks volumes as to the quality of the project in every regard. Having seen it myself at one of the festivals (Garden State), I can say that what I enjoyed most was the way the film honors its film noir roots in terms of plot, style, and iconography while at the same time making the genre feel fresh.

The way color is used in particular seems like a natural progression from noir's expressionistic use of light and shadow in its black and white cinematography - light and color work thematically to help tell the story and aren't just "eye candy." Neither are the visual effects, which the director loves to point out but frankly, I didn't notice them. Whatever effects work was done must serve the story so seamlessly that I just didn't give them a second thought. All in all, the way the images were handled really transcends the film's digital origins. For a first-time director, DeNigris coaxed strong performances from his actors, most notably leads Tully and Kilgore as well as supporting player Briscoe. The music - both the score by composer Starr and the standalone songs by indie rock acts - served the material well.

This is a good, twisty mystery, well-told within the confines of its budget and technology. Other than name actors, what more could you want? I personally, can't wait to see what this filmmaker does next.

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Buffalo and Niagara Falls become the setting for a young man's noir nightmare

Author: msroz from United States
12 March 2016

"The Falls" (2003) is an indie production, brought in for under $75,000 and clearly a labor of love. Living near both Buffalo and the Falls, I have a soft spot for this picture, as I did for "Buffalo '66" (1998). The IMDb rating of 4.6 suggests a below par film, which it is on certain dimensions such as too much narration, an actor as protagonist who doesn't really grab you and a couple under par performances. On the other hand, it has some positives. It has a couple of very good performances, lots of action, many twists and an amazing variety of cinematographic devices. There are many different kinds of color filters used here, presenting an ever-changing palette of color and feeling. The staging feels fresh too.

The movie is neo-noir the whole way, thoroughly so. Thus, while the story is new, it feels derivative. The narration makes this consciously so, to the point that the film almost seems like parody at times. At the beginning, this distances us from engagement in the actual story and taking it seriously. However, as the movie wears on, we tend to become more involved in it.

I think it's best to watch this without any idea of the plot. There're some good creative impulses behind this film and it shouldn't be judged too harshly for its defects. Virtually all films have them, including those with budgets 500x the budget of this one.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

To be avoided ...............

Author: merklekranz from United States
23 February 2010

I mistakenly thought that this neo-noir effort from the Buffalo - Niagara Falls area might be something different. Unfortunately I was incorrect. There are are many problems with "The Falls", that really have nothing to do with it's low budget video production. Immediately one has to question why all the constant narration? My feeling is that if you have a decent script, the audience will follow along, without having to be insulted with voice over storytelling. The acting is very amateurish, which is not unexpected, but simply adds to the problems. Finally, the entire thing is annoyingly shot like an MTV music video, which I found to be totally unacceptable. The narration, bad acting, and annoying video effects are all good reasons why this should be avoided. - MERK

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Great movie for the budget, average movie overall

Author: thesociety from San Pedro
26 November 2004

Nice budget on the movie. The soundtrack was one of the best parts. The plot rolls along looking like a bad copy of a Bogart movie. Even the cheesy bad cop/good cop was included. The difference between this movie and something for HBO or some other pay per view movie was the cops and some polish on the special effects. Don't you hate seeing blood without bleeding, closeup shots of scar-less red faces was kind of goofy. The infatuation for red-heads was interesting, having suffered first-hand their treachery it seemed like an interesting theme. My biggest bitch was it was just too stupid. The things the lead character did, the ongoing chasing of the suspected killer, they would fight, then leave, then he'd hunt him down again so they could fight, then he leaves, then he does it all over again. The intelligence of the plot is questionable, although the last 5 minutes almost makes up for it. This movie fits in anyones "straight to DVD" collection, worth watching, even if only to see how much movie $75 000 buys. But when voting for the collective movie database, its only average, deserving a 6.

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4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

This film was AWFUL

Author: d-graham from United States
7 February 2005

I thought this movie was awful. I understand it was shot on a small budget but the acting was terrible and the movie itself was just plain dumb. The plot was predictable and the central character was an unsympathetic moron. In fact, all of the characters were unsympathetic and none were fully developed at all. The audience relates to no one in the movie. It was supposed to be suspenseful but if you don't care about the characters, it's hard to get "into" the movie at all. I felt like an outsider being forced to listen to someone tell me a stupid story. All the plot twists at the end were just a little too much - I was actually laughing when I guess I was supposed to be "shocked." All in all, I thought it was really just a bad movie.

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5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Low budget, bad acting, cliché after cliché of many worn out plots

Author: SILENCEikillyou from The Florida Keys
15 March 2005

I'm only going to write more because it's required. However, the summary I put at the top is way too wordy for what this film was. You pretty much know who's in on it from the beginning. In spite of its attempts at plot twists and turns -acting 'talent' trying hard to have looks of shock and dismay when a twist happens-, you never really need to wonder 'whodunit' in this 'mystery'.

The more I write, the more I feel bad that I have to write so much in order to have a comment, but rules are rules. I really feel bad about saying this, but this is the lowest I've ever rated a movie... I think. It makes me wonder what I'm saving votes of 1 and 2 for. However, I thought this film deserved a 3, since I believe there was some talent in the film. Johanna Watts (or is it Watson) did a pretty good job. She was crying and distraught in one part and I thought she conveyed that emotion well. The man who played the character that was 'the drummer' did well, too, for his short part.

Many of the actors did an 'ok' job. But the lead actor, David -forget his last name (terrible with names)- was pretty bad. I think he must have thought he was doing dramatic displays for 'The Young and the Restless' or 'Days of Our Lives'. If you try, you can just picture him in a white lab coat, playing a doctor with multiple personalities on 'General Hospital'. It doesn't help that the movie is even shot like a daytime soap. Although, I'm pretty sure I could shoot this same movie with a camcorder; though without the obvious and soap'ish sound editing.

First time I ever thought the money to rent this movie was wasted. Though, I wouldn't watch it again, unless I was paid a large sum of money.

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