The film feels considerably longer than its 100 minutes of running time, largely because there's very little narrative movement. Within the first few scenes, we've established certain central points of the film: it's about two angst-filled brothers, and it's about a small-time theft gone bad. And that's about where the narrative stays until the very end.
The major flaw of Fallen Arches is that it suffers from a disjunction between the comic and tragic elements of the film, with two storylines that simply don't mesh well at all. In the dramatic storyline, the older brother, Duke (Justin Louis) frets over how he's going to get his younger brother Frankie (Carmine Giovinazzo) out of the dismal environment they're stuck in, while Frankie mopes about, indecisive about leaving L.A. and half resentful of his brother's mother-hen behavior. In the comic storyline, a few minor complications ensue as Frankie and his friends try to unload the stolen shoes. The general effect is of two separate films that have been spliced together for no particular reason other than the one character, Frankie, whom they have in common.
The lack of resonance between these two plotlines becomes especially plain toward the end of the film when the various incidents pull together into a depressing and pointless finale. Depressing, in its message of hope turned sour; pointless, in that neither theme nor actual plot are advanced or wrapped up in any meaningful way.
As writer/director Ron Cosentino's first feature-length production, Fallen Arches has the feel of a production that's been one person's labor of love for too long. There's a reasonably large number of secondary characters, more than are really necessary for the bare-bones story that's being told on-screen, with a corrsponding lack of focus, a feeling that all of the characters are equally important to the filmmaker when in fact what's needed is a tighter focus on what's important to the story.
Fallen Arches is presented in a non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. The image is dark and murky; most of the action takes place at night or in dimly-lit rooms, so the poor contrast and muddy colors result in a general lack of detail, and do detract from the film's overall effect. There's a moderate amount of noise in the image, though relatively few print flaws, and a certain amount of grain is also visible. It's not the worst transfer I've seen, but it's not particularly pleasing to look at.
The Dolby 2.0 track for Fallen Arches is adequate for its purpose. Though the track as a whole feels rather flat, dialogue is clear enough. A touch of harshness is detectable when voices are raised, but on the whole it's fairly accurate.
Director/writer Ron Cosentino has supplied a full-length audio commentary for the film. We also get a trailer. Menus are reasonably easy to navigate, though not particularly logical: if you skip the FBI warning, the trailer starts playing, and if you then press "menu" it takes you to the special features menu. Fortunately, the main menu is accessible from there.
The DVD packaging, incidentally, is one of the least legible that I've seen, with the blurb text printed in a nearly invisible dark blue lettering on a black background.
Fallen Arches left me completely cold. The mix of dramatic and comedic elements is a tough one to handle in any film, and in this case it goes badly wrong, resulting in a lackluster movie that never comes together. I suggest skipping this one.