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Imagine That

Imagine That

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Playwright John Guare must have had Indian director Tarsem Singh (or as he’s often simply known, Tarsem) in mind when he wrote about the increasing exteriorization of the term “imaginative”: “Why has ‘imagination’ become a synonym for style?” Singh makes films that inspire a bevy of similarly misused adjectives: “sumptuous,” “surreal,” “eye-popping,” “hallucinatory.” He specializes in audacious compositions, shoots in exotic locales, fits his actors in unique costumes that appear simultaneously futuristic and old-fashioned, and in only two features, including the new and fifteen years in the making The Fall, has shown a predilection for stories about, yes, “the power of the imagination.”

Unfortunately, lacking the ability to fashion cohesive tales driven by engaging characters, Singh overcompensates with his trademark visual palette and loses a hold on both in the process, a fatal flaw that can be traced back to his only other non-advertising work, the poetically vacuous video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” and the Silence of the Lambs-as-Dali-toss-off The Cell. His is a classic case of a natural-born cinematographer playing at being a filmmaker. Click here to read Michael Joshua Rowin’s review of The Fall.

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