Funny, smart, chaotic, and incredibly engaging, Falling Down is one of the best movies of the nineties. Full of dark humor, subtle and not-so-subtle messages, it’s one of my favorite movies. When I first saw it, I loved the whole fuck the system aspect of it. Plus, it was interesting to see someone trying to right a few wrongs. What I liked the most about it was its versatility. In a decade where movies like this did not have any additional features, it introduced a lot of different layers to the classic rampage story. As I got older, I started to see more and more of myself in D-Fens until ultimately realizing what was going on with him. If you want to know more, do read this Rabbit Reviews analysis: Falling Down: A Man Past The Point Of No Return.
Right from the opening scene, Falling Down grabs you by the shoulders and pulls you into the screen. The direction is superb, the performances stellar and the script tight. However, the fact that you can identify so well with our lead character is the best thing about it. It also opens up a whole new level full of thought-provoking concepts. You can surf on the surface and enjoy all the action and thrills or you can delve deep. Just like I did in the above-mentioned article. If you wanted to boil down the entire message of the movie Falling Down it’s the one about a failed society, grinding and eroding individuals until they eventually brake.
Almost thirty years after its initial release and this movie is still very relevant. In fact, you might even argue that it’s more relevant now than it was in the nineties. And it’s really funny and full of memorable characters. The combination of cynicism, satire, and the bizarreness of our everyday life makes for one hell of a vibe. The scenes are set up in such a way that you know exactly how the characters are feeling at that moment. Of course, I’m not gonna spend any time talking about Michael Douglas’s best performance to date. He was everything he needed to be and more.
We find William Foster stuck in traffic during a particularly hot day in Los Angeles. He seems like a man who’s about to snap at any minute. And he does this by making one of the first independently-made decisions in his life. To get where he intends to go he will have to make several very dangerous stops. However, when you’ve got nothing to lose, you’re a very dangerous man yourself. Perhaps even the most dangerous of them all.
Another thing I liked about Falling Down is that’s unfolding in real-time. This isn’t some pretentious epic with slow pacing but a very entertaining look at urban life. It highlights the problems we have as a society and it demands change that we all know is not going to come. Despite the overall gloominess, the atmosphere is actually vibrant and even uplifting at times. The story is open to interpretation and perhaps scenes others found unremarkable will strike a chord with you. It could be the Whammy Burger one or the one with a guy holding a “not economically viable” sign.
Most likely the one where he wants to get into the bus but people are so rude and aggressive that he simply can’t. It’s the little things like that are going to get you. I would also like to add that Falling Down offers a very juicy and nostalgic slice of nineties L.A. life. Even if you’ve never been to this city, I think that through movies and television shows you already know what it’s like. Finally, the proof of what a masterpiece this is can be found within the lack of glorification of our antihero and his exploits. They just happen and it’s up to us to interpret them in any way we want. Or simply to enjoy them as is, the choice is all yours.
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Ebbe Roe Smith
Cast: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin, Tuesday Weld, Frederic Forrest
Fun Facts: The “not economically viable” man in front of the bank is wearing the same clothes as D-Fens.