The tangled union of a young couple charts their compatibility with one another while they both fight against the unbearable urge not to be alone. This is Fall on Me.
Fall On Me, by writer/director Isaac F. Davis, is a fascinating piece of work that touches on some familiar themes while looking like many different films, yet it also manages to keep its own identity, remaining wholly original, compellingly interesting, and at times downright captivating. We were made aware that this is the very first original short film that director Isaac F. Davis has written, directed, and produced. The reason we mention that is because Fall On Me does not follow the regular rules of filmmaking traditions. Yes, at its most basic level it’s a short film about a burgeoning relationship that we have seen many times before, and yes, we meet characters and watch a plot we recognise from other movies, but where it differs from other films is that the plot doesn’t seem to follow any particular path or work towards any sort of conclusion. Meanwhile, the characters don’t behave how you would expect them to, nor do they receive any form of closure. This is the type of film that could only be made by someone who either, never went to a film school or, if they did, flatly refused to follow any of the instructions they were taught. Davis’s maverick filmmaking sensibilities make Fall On Me such an absorbing piece of work.
Atticus and Ava are two young adults who live in New York City and after meeting through a dating app begin a relationship that, when we first meet them, lasted for 4 months. Throughout the short’s 24-minute runtime we are party to moments where both characters become riddled with self-doubt. They both have mild mental health issues due to an innate fear of being left alone in life. This constant worry leads to them continuously questioning themselves. Are they in this relationship because of love or is it just so they won’t be alone?
Fall On Me feels like an old-fashioned Hollywood melodrama, the stakes for our couple are relatively small, and the worst that could happen to them is they split up, but Davis’s direction and camera work play with our minds; he heightens the tension using quick dramatic cuts and then ramps up the music to fool our emotions. He manages to make us feel exhilarated during some scenes even though we’ve only seen Atticus walk across a street. The soundtrack by Shiro Sagisuis is a huge positive, the music underlines points and then punches up the emotions, faithfully reflecting the sounds, feel, and style of a Hitchcock comedy/thriller. The movie also benefits from its cinematography by Luis Hernandez who manages to capture some fantastic shots – the tracking shot of Atticus walking towards his date with Ava is matched by the exact same shot tracking Ava as she arrives to meet Atticus and it is a standout.
The key to Fall on Me is that it’s never ironic, the look, it’s editing, and its music are all bombastic choices that don’t match the genre of the film we’re watching. However, it all works well together because there is never a tongue-in-the-cheek, a wink to the audience, or a hint that the filmmakers are being too clever. This is not a movie that knows more than we do and because the film deliberately lacks irony, it has a genuine dramatic impact. Playing like a powerful fifties drama and a breezy Hitchcock thriller that we’ve never seen since, Davis’s Fall On Me is surprisingly effective.