The Fall

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) delivers a masterful performance as steely DS Stella Gibson in this heart-pounding psychological thriller. Called to Belfast to investigate a high-profile murder, Gibson quickly realizes that a serial killer prowls the city. The culprit is Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Grey), a grief counselor and family man driven by vicious compulsions. As Gibson closes in on Spector, both the hunter and the hunted outmaneuver each other in a sinister game of cat and mouse. Will Gibson make Spector pay for his crimes before the death toll rises? An “intelligent show with tremendous acting” (The Atlantic), critics rave that “Anderson is sublime, almost otherworldly, while Dornan…matches her for icy charisma” (Daily Mail, UK). This complete collection of the award-winning drama also stars Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), John Lynch (In the Name of the Father), and Colin Morgan (Merlin, Humans).

thefallcollectionbluStudio: Acorn Media
Year: 2017
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Run time: 1072 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: Dolby Digital mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Disc Spec: 6 BD
Region: A

British television has seen a surge of popularity in recent years with hits like Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, and Sherlock crossing the Atlantic to find popularity here in the States. Personally, I’ve now seen three British crime shows (Sherlock, Luther, and The Fall), and all three are quite good in their own way. Starring Gillian Anderson (Agent Scully of The X-Files fame), The Fall revolves around a serial killer terrorizing Belfast by murdering young professional women in their homes. Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Anderson) is brought in to investigate the murders.

The plot of The Fall is incredibly straightforward; the police are out to catch a serial killer. On its own, that doesn’t sound very interesting. What makes The Fall interesting is the time it takes allowing the audience to get to know the serial killer. We know that Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) is the killer; there’s no mystery for us. But the series spend an equal amount of time going back and forth between Gibson’s hunt to catch the killer and Paul’s everyday life as a husband, father, and grief counselor. It feels reminiscent of The Wire, where the audience spent equal time with the drug lords and street dealers and the police who were working to arrest them.

There are supporting characters who work to a varying extent; Bronagh Waugh fares best as Paul’s wife Sally-Ann. Her illusions about her husband are shattered as she begins to discover some of the truth about him. But the series is truly anchored by Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. Anderson has proven herself to be a capable actress over the years, and she continues that here. Her steely and icy demeanor occasionally betray a vulnerability, a serious desire not just to catch the killer but to provide justice for his victims.

Yet Dornan is the real find. His performance is both chilling and unsettling. His interactions with his family seem genuine and touching, but his precision and his manipulation are truly frightening. Indeed, the fact that the series takes so much time to examine Paul and his life forces the audience to examine and grapple with the similarities that exist between him and Stella. It forces us to look in the eye of a serial killer and see ourselves in the reflection. It’s a terrifying proposition, but Dornan is truly fantastic. Of course, he’s aided by Allan Cubitt’s wonderful script. The writing truly delves into the mind of Paul, and the results are simply extraordinary.

But the script excels with the plot as well as the characters. Like I said, The Fall is pretty straightforward in its story. But that means there are not plot holes, no convoluted side stories that don’t make sense, no contrivances simply to move the story forward. There are some side plots that don’t feel quite as essential as the main plot, but they work well in providing context and depth to the characters. The Fall moves forward with a singular mind and purpose, unfolding at its own pace and in its own time. It’s not a very fast-paced show, so don’t expect a lot of action or excitement.

Movie Quality: 9/10

Special Features

  • Making-of Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Photo Galleries

Special Features: 5/10

Final Thoughts

There is a dark and cold atmosphere around the whole thing which adds nicely to the suspense. There is also some great acting performances, Jamie Dornan plays a highly convincing serial killer/sexual predator and Gillian Anderson is very good as detective Stella Gibson.
Overall Rating: 8/10