Movie #32 2022: The Fallout (2021)

Sometimes, a movie catches my eye for no apparent reason. The Fallout promised to be a coming-of-age movie with a difference, and with so many praising it online, I just had to know what all the fuss was about. Over the past decade or so, there have been many ‘teen movies’ that broke the mould of what a standard young adult film could be. Think Lady Bird, Eighth Grade or Edge of Seventeen, for example. Suddenly, movies catered towards these audiences are no longer just simply comedies like Mean Girls or Clueless, but are much more meaningful and deep.

The Fallout centres on a young teenage girl who is pretty bright and bubbly, without a care in the world. One day though, possibly the worst thing imaginable happens: she’s caught up in a school shooting. Starring Jenna Ortega as Vada in the lead role, the film chooses not to look at the shooting itself, but on the effect it has on its protagonist after the fact.

Whew, in short, this was a lot. Imagine living in a world where this is still a thing… Oh wait, we don’t have to imagine.

Firstly, before we delve into the film itself, listen to this tea right here. Jenna Ortega is a s u p e r s t a r. There’s no way she’s going anywhere anytime soon. This movie is proof that she can lead an entire film all on her own, mastering both the intense emotional scenes and the comedic side of things effortlessly. Plus she’s only 19?! Insane. Also pleasantly surprising is Maddie Ziegler, who I was worried may not be able to handle the depth of performance a film like this requires. She proved me wrong. Both young actors do a phenomenal job here.

For such a short movie, it did feel longer than it was. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I didn’t look away from the screen for even a second. However, the plot is so slight – this is a much more heavily character based film – that it just felt a tad long. Regardless of any of that, this is a very important subject, even if there are already other countless films/TV shows etc that focus on it to some extent, and director Megan Park does a phenomenal job with her feature length debut. 

What is brilliant about the screenplay is the choice to centre it on a character who is not the shooter, nor are they the relative or friend of a victim. It doesn’t obsess over why the shooter did what they did and it doesn’t even give too many details of the shooting itself. All of this made the whole thing feel much more original and a fresh take on this devastating sub-genre. 

I won’t pretend this is a massive achievement in filmmaking, but it’s an extremely watchable, brilliantly written and well-balanced piece of work. It’s so easy to see why The Fallout is getting such high praise.

The Fallout has no official UK release date as of yet, although it’s likely that it will become available soon on Disney+.

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