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The Fall Before Paradise (2004)

 -  Thriller  -  2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 78 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

A psychiatric patient, guided by disturbing dreams and visions, attempts to reunite an abducted child with her mother.



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Title: The Fall Before Paradise (2004)

The Fall Before Paradise (2004) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Credited cast:
Jennifer Chudy ...
Mary Webber
Dangerous Patient 3
Kimberly S. Fairbanks ...
Jennifer Kersey ...
Hospital Volunteer
Orderly #2
Shelley McPherson ...
Christopher Morse ...
Telephone Repairman
Rob Patterson ...
Orderly #1
Michael Leroy Sheppard ...
Police Officer
Karim Sioud ...
Dangerous Patient
Michael Patrick Smith ...
Psychiatric Patient #2
Tony Tsendeas ...


A psychiatric patient is haunted by dreams of abduction and abuse from the perspective of an abducted boy. The psychiatric patient stops taking his medication and the dreams and visions become even more disturbing. He will never have peace as long as the boy's little sister is in the company of the brutal abductors. The child's fate seems to rest in the hands of the outpatient girlfriend whose main objective is to bomb the phone company, convinced they are guilty of mass mind control. Together, two chemically imbalanced lovers struggle to see truth amidst the delusions of mental illness and stand alone in their attempt to rescue the abducted girl. Written by Steven Gillilan

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2004 (USA)  »

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$200,000 (estimated)

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1.85 : 1
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Worth watching
21 June 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Although billed as a 'thriller' on IMDb, THE FALL BEFORE PARADISE can better be described as a quirky and original supernatural drama, which, to its credit, does not take itself too seriously all the time. Following a screening at the Dances With Films fest, helmer Steve Gillilan revealed that the film was inspired by his own struggle with mental instability after living in L.A. for a relatively short period (the F. Scott Fitzgerald syndrome). But instead of making one of those pompous indie LA-bashing crack-up movies, Gillilan moved the setting to Baltimore, added a supernatural spin and created something a bit different.

The story focuses upon MAX, (played by Devere Jehl in a multi-dimensional performance), who is an introverted, tormented mental patient locked in an asylum struggling with visions of an abducted/abused child he must save in the outside world. But in order to do so, he needs the help of his overbearing, psychotic girlfriend Maddie (Sabrina Gennarino) to escape the asylum and help him make sense of his disjointed visions. The pairing of these two incompatible characters provides some much-needed comic punch when the story gets a bit heavy around the molestation-related scenes. It's evident that Maddie's over-the-top character may have been an afterthought (although probably a good one) to bump up the pace of the film.

Thus arises my greatest criticism. This movie could have been an excellent thriller or drama or maybe even comedy (although this would take some serious reworking) if the director had exclusively committed to any one of these three genres. Instead, the filmmaker juxtaposed elements of all three, resulting in a sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes thrilling story. But the result of Gillilan's brew is, surprisingly, a solid, well-executed film which holds up to movies made by more experienced directors with much larger budgets. The film's success is much owed to its creators' genuine dedication and love of the film itself.


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