Fallen is a fantasy romance drama based upon the popular 2009 novel by Lauren Kate. It tells the story of a young teenage girl named Lucinda “Luce” Price (Addison Timlin) who gets accused by her parents of being mentally disturbed and causing the death of a boy named Trevor (Leo Suter). They end up dumping her at Sword & Cross Academy, which is a reformed bordering school.

There Luce meets a collection of eccentric and bizarre characters including her soon-to-be best friend and nerd Penn (Lola Kirk), the bad boy Cam (Harrison Gilbertson), the annoying mean girl Molly (Sianoa Smit-McFree), the rebel and class clown Arriane (Daisy Head), librarian and tutor Miss Sophia (Joely Richardson) and the dark, mysterious and handsome Daniel Gregori (Jeremy Irvine).

Slowly many secrets and connections of the past are unraveled before Luce as she discovers the true nature of herself and those around her.

Leading up to the release of this first installment of Lauren Kate’s Fallen book series, there was a lot of hype and anticipation from fans and critics alike. Unfortunately there wee many problems in the way from getting this film released commercially from major production delays, script writing issues and lack of finances. And from this final product, it really shows.

Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, this is a very half-hearted adaptation at best with low budget, unconvincing special effects and CGI. Plus with a running time of 91 minutes, the whole film feels rushed and incomplete. Important details from the novel are skipped over or ignored completely in an effort to pack in the major plot points.

Surprisingly enough, the acting is actually pretty decent and above the Hallmark-quality production values. Timlin and Kirke are easily the most convincing with both characters having complicated pasts and a mountain of emotional issues. Plus their personalities really shines through and much of the dialogue from the novel is thankfully kept in tact.

The minor characters who end up becoming part of Luce’s friendship circle including Roland (Malachi Kirby), Todd (Chris Ashby) and Rachel (Norma Kuhling) are only given about 5 minutes of screen time each and basically no character development whatsoever. This is probably the film’s biggest flaw as the viewers are left to wonder who’s who and what the hell is going on half the time especially if you haven’t read the novel it’s based upon.

Director Scott Hicks (Hearts in Atlantis, Snow Falling on Cedars) shouldn’t take all the blame for how much of a mess this film turned into. At least he tries to make it visually cohesive with the various sections of Sword and Cross Academy being shown in all it’s beauty.

We get very brief scenes of Luce’s shadows (or announcers as Daniel calls them) plus a host of flash-backs and a gripping aerial battle to close out the film. But sadly it’s a lot of material to digest in very little screen time. Fallen had a lot of potential but it “falls” well below the mark. 6/10

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