Movie #91 Falling Down
(1993, US, d. Joel Schumacher)
Falling Down was an interesting watch for me, because I loved half of it and couldn’t care about the other. The film is split into the stories of two characters: William Foster (played by Michael Douglas), a recently fired divorcee who gets fed up with the world and lashes out with violence, and Sergeant Martin Prendergast (played by Robert Duvall), the soon-to-be retiree who tries to stop Foster. Foster’s story is the one I found original. There was no glory or even madness in Foster’s violence. Rather, it was a sad and confused portrayal of a man who was pushed to the edge by his own mistakes. By the end of the film, his character is legitimately surprised to be viewed as the “bad guy”. I thought it was a wonderful critique of American capitalism and ubitiquitousness as well as the sharp divides between rich and poor and the duplicity of the way America presents itself to be and the way it actually is run. Now that I think of it, it’s kind of a good complement film to the whole WikiLeaks scandal. The other half just felt like it existed to create a resolution to the film. It was filled to the brim with cop cliches, even though it had a good performance from Duvall. Overall, if there’s one thing this film did for me, I don’t think I’ll ever see a psycho on the news the same way. From an objective perspective, what Foster was doing was maniacal and at times murderous. However, looking at it from his shoes, he did just want to get home. Joel Schumacher, especially earlier in the film, employed the camera wonderfully to convey that sense of angst and heat Foster was feeling, while paying homage to Fellini’s 8 1/2 dream sequence at the same time.