Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Film Review: Falling Down (1993)

Falling Down (Review)
United States/1993
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

During a blazing Los Angeles day, William Foster (Michael Douglas) is stuck in traffic, slowing crumbling under the pressure of his daily problems. He ditches his car to walk home - to his estranged ex-wife, who has a restraining order against him, for his daughter's birthday. However, his walk quickly spirals into mayhem as he encounters gang bangers, disrespectful and abusive pedestrians, a Nazi, and much more. Meanwhile, Sergeant Martin Prendergast (Robert Duvall), on his retiring day, is hot on Foster's trail.

The story is very interesting and entertaining. Falling Down makes many thought-provoking statements on society through William's powerful dialogue; using compelling themes such as anger, sadness, commercialism, and poverty to make a strong yet subtle point. I say subtle because the social commentary can be ignored, and the film can be enjoyed without having to think deeply afterwards. William has many, many tense and darkly humorous encounters that make for an immensely entertaining film. Some confrontations are intense due to the possible consequence and the buildup, while others are humorous because they consists of witty dialogue and a dark reality, as well as a great delivery. The film uses these consistent and versatile encounters to keep a high pace up to it's incredible ending.

I also like the story because of its storytelling. During the entire film, I was rooting for William; I would say the people he attacked deserved their punishment. Maybe he often overreacted, but he is a hero of sorts as he stood for his beliefs and rights. That is, until William himself questions his stance in the current situation as he says "I'm the bad guy?" And that's when it hit me: Am I a bad guy for rooting for the bad guy? These are the types of moments I love on film, the moments that make me think and question myself.

Michael Douglas delivers an astonishing performance, speaking fluently wit great power and emotion; in fact, you can see the anger, the sadness, and frustration through his facial expressions. Douglas' performance is impressive, and it's one of his best performances. Robert Duvall has less screen time, but plays his role with great charisma; he develops a very likable character thanks to his charisma. Both the writing and direction from Ebbe Roe Smith and Joel Schumacher, respectively, are fantastic - they create a very immersive story with consistency.

Overall, Falling Down is a superb film with a thrilling, all-too-real story, and fantastic performances. It's as entertaining as it is thought-provoking, and that is an accomplishment. I highly recommend a purchase of Falling Down.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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