Collective hysteria is examined not with restraint but with respect in Carol Morley's The Falling. Suggestive remarks and insinuations, sometimes too bluntly explicated, make for a keener, richer experience than the melodramatic story requires; if interest in the basic narrative progression should wane, Morley has enough ideas interwoven through it to keep it up. She's too willfully abstruse for her own good, though, and with little success: The Falling is strewn with over-zealous editing, offensive soundtrack cues and a visual scheme that aspires toward vivid nostalgia but lacks the requisite verve. A simpler approach might have revealed a greater sense and sensitivity combined; as it is, the film is a hodgepodge of styles, never cohering as it both wants to and needs to. But if Morley's presentation of her intellectual ideas is awry, those ideas themselves exist in earnest all the same, and contribute toward a smart piece of work - smarter than you'd expect, given the potentially simplistic storyline. One is left with a plethora of conflicting notions, never doubting the validity of what has been shown, only doubting the nature of validity at all. Morley is clever enough to know that, despite her obvious understanding of the themes she explores, she can't offer up any compelling answers to the various questions that she raises in The Falling. The film has an air of intelligence about it, and eventually proves to have earned that air.