Now this was a film I was very excited to see. When I first saw the trailer for it, I thought that it set up the movie really well and made me want to watch the film when I got the chance. And when I did, I was blown away. To set it up for you all, the story is set in the 1920s in Los Angeles where an injured stuntman and Romanian girl with a broken girl met one day. He begins to tell her an “epic tale” and with his story and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality start to blur as he goes on with this story. The story is warm and heart-felt, with the two main characters forming a brother and sister-like relationship as they each go through their own struggles and situations in the story. Loved Lee Pace (stuntman) and Catinca Untaru (little girl) as the choice for he actors. I thought the played off each other really well and made us fall in love with them along with the story.
I think what really made the production fantastic was the alternation and connection between fantasy and reality. To distinguish between the scenarios, the hospital grounds are somewhat rustic and bland with everyone wearing mostly white, black or beige in part for their outfits for work while in the “story”, everyone wore bright colors and extravagant costumes while being in over-the-top and amazing sets/ locations for where the story took place. But again, this story is being brought to life my a little girl’s imagination, so she uses people she has met/ knows as specific characters in the movie. The one-legged man being Luigi, the explosive specialist. The Ice Delivery Man as the ex-slave Otto Benga. And The stuntman she meets as the “Masked Bandit.” I feel in this way not only she but us the audience can relate to and feel for these “fantastical characters” even more.
Going along with the alternation between fantasy and reality, the shots the director choose to use to go between these different worlds worked well I think. Such as when the little girl accidentally spills coffee on a table, the stuntman puts a cloth onto the table to clean up the mess. This transitions into the Masked bandit pressing a white cloth that turns blood red on the body of his dead brother. Or when Nurse evelyn is trying to talk to the Masked Bandit about his past life and she start fidgeting like crazy. The Stuntman tells her to go to the bathroom and it immediately goes back to the little girl who doesn’t want to go and demands him to continue with the story. There are many moments like these where reality and fantasy interchange or blend together. It again makes the story complicated yet fun at the same time.
I personally would give this a 4 1/2 out of 5. Not only is the story incredible with great actors as well, but the cinematography of shots between fantasy and reality are fantastic and having the same actor play two different people help us understand and relate to these characters even more. the “story” has us escaping into a new world while we have to realize the truth about reality while doing so. And it’s up to whether we can all see the good side of reality or is there only happiness in the fantasy world. I think we can and I think that’s the kind of journey both the little girl and stuntman go on and discover together. And maybe we can discover too in this film