Michael douglas is a laid-off defense worker who goes on a violent rampage across los angeles with dogged cop robert duvall in pursuit. Special features: interactive menus scene access and theatrical trailer. Subtitles in english and french. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 12/11/2007 Starring: Michael Douglas Robert Duvall Run time: 113 minutes Rating: R Director: Joel Schumacher
This film, about a downsized engineer (Michael Douglas) who goes ballistic, triggered a media avalanche of stories about middle-class white rage when it was released in 1993. In fact, it's nothing more than a manipulative, violent melodrama about one geek's meltdown. Douglas, complete with pocket protector, nerd glasses, crewcut, and short-sleeved white shirt, gets stuck in traffic one day near downtown L.A. and proceeds to just walk away from his car--and then lose it emotionally. Everyone he encounters rubs him the wrong way--and a fine lot of stereotypes they are, from threatening ghetto punks to rude convenience store owners to a creepy white supremacist--and he reacts violently in every case. As he walks across L.A. (now there's a concept), cutting a bloody swath, he's being tracked by a cop on the verge of retirement (Robert Duvall). He also spends time on the phone with his frightened ex-wife (Barbara Hershey). Though Douglas and Duvall give stellar performances, they can't disguise the fact that, as usual, this is another film from director Joel Schumacher that is about surface and sensation, rather than actual substance. --Marshall Fine
Classic This had to be one of the funniest movies ever made. Weak ending, though....more info
Wierdly powerful. Michael Douglas has a meltdown. This is a wierdly powerful film that most of us can relate to, at least a little. A laid-off aerospace engineer (Michael Douglas) whose life has gone off the tracks ends up in the bad part of Los Angeles. He decides to walk to his estranged wife's home (his marriage is kaput too, and his wife won't let him see his daughter). Along the way, he encounters about every specimen of urban blight imaginable, from the chicano gun gang, to the panhandler, to the scumbag neo-nazi, you name it. He quickly morphs into an out-of-control psychopath who now gives his earlier supressed rage its full venting. A very effective role by Douglas; one of his better ones.
Robert Duvall is the about-to-retire burned-out LAPD cop who figures out more or less what is going on with the string of shootings and killings that Douglas perpetrates. Duvall is good, as he usually is, but this is DOuglas' film.
This is a very dark and unhappy story, but also moving and powerful. Not for someone looking for an emotional uplift. By the way, the ending will rock you (no spoiler here). ...more info
What a movie! I absolutely loved this movie! It was awesome and very powerful! The movie was also hilarious! Michael Douglas gives a great performance as William, a layed off engineer who has a meltdown and a very hectic day. Will is stuck in awful traffic because of pointless road construction and just leaves his car. He wants to see his daughter on her birthday but his mean ex wife won't let him and threathens him. She was a character that I dissliked and I felt great pity for Will. Will has a crazy day where he revolts against society. This movie is very powerful as it shows some of society's problems. Will teaches a Korean guy that the prices in his store are all wrong, beats up some mean gang members trying to steal his briefcase, holds up a McDonald'sish store because he wants a breakfast meal and not lunch, destroys a payphone and much more. The classic golf sequence and the construction site scene are awesome and hilarious and worth it alone. Robert Duvall gives a good performance also as a cop. The movie is hilarious but also sad and makes an important point. It shows how society is srewed up in so many ways.
Here's my advice. Don't rent this movie. Buy it. It's worth it and is a remarquable film worht rewatching over and over again. I loved it and it's even in my top 25 movies of all time! Please check them out on my about me page and listamia list under my top25 movies! It's changing sometimes but I really recommend these movies to EVERYONE! So, if you want to see some excellent movies that I really enjoyed, check them out! I think that you'll really enjoy them!...more info
FALLING DOWN - Michael Douglas at his very best. This film has had more controversy surround it than most, but let me tell you, it's one kick-ass piece of work. Like Richard Burton's reverend in NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, who goes over the edge during a Sunday sermon, Douglas, as the victim of downsizing, makes that same trip while stuck in a traffic jam on an L. A. freeway during a summer heat spell. (I live in the Los Angeles area, and though I have never lost my job to downsizing, I still have total empathy for the character's breaking point every time I get stuck in similar traffic snarls!) Once he gets out of his car, leaving it abandoned in the middle of the traffic jam, and starts his march through the city to go home to his ex-wife and child, we know nothing positive is going to come. The trip is alternatively funny and tragic, thanks to Douglas's performance. He somehow manages to walk the very thin line between his character's Archie Bunker-isms and his character's horrible situation as he cuts a violent path to the ocean. There are some truly hard-to-watch moments in this film (the war surplus store sequence is particularly brutal), but one can't shy away from the out-of-control anger of this poor man, who can't understand why he's suffered his fate of unemployment after playing by all of the rules. Economic forces continue to leave many in similar circumstances, but Douglas starts connecting the dots to things that have nothing to do with his plight: a Korean mini-mart owner who marks up everything, including a can of soda; fast-food service providers who play by their policies with arrogance, etc. The tragic humor in the Douglas character is that he sees himself as the victim of all these forces and of the inner-city dry rot that he encounters on his journey. (Thankfully, most people shelve their victimhood and move on with their lives, often landing squarely and positively on both feet.) This film is great because it provokes reactions in the viewer, often creating a sense of discomfort. Not easily forgotten, FALLING DOWN should be enjoyed as the masterpiece it ultimately is.
Incredible Movie and Powerful Performance by M. Douglas! I loved this movie, it is one of the top "psycho movies" of all time, right up there with "The Shining"....more info
A Powerful Film... The first time I saw this film, I didn't like it... yet for some bizarre reason I felt compelled to come back to the theatre and watch it again... and again... and again... The film is particularly interesting because it plays on a common human fantasy : The wimpish underdog suddenly becoming empowered and turning the tables on his enemies in a very Hollywoodish manner... Though many films may have unlikely superheroes, the film plays upon this fantasty to a most ridiculous extreme and the realism inherent in the plot (he's not a superhero in blue tights) is what makes the film so unique... I mean, its one thing to punch out some guy you don't like... but to gradually acquire an evergrowing and more powerful arsenol of weapons along the way and use them to confront every single menace of daily urban living ? - - Oddly enough, though no idealistic Billy Jack (see "The Born Losers") Douglas's cartoonish laid off white male pencil pusher turned madman vigilante easily strikes a chord in the viewer... Yes, the guy is obviously off his rocker... but you can't help chuckling at him as he confronts one social ***hole stereotype after another... You watch the film - - understand that he's obvoiusly the bad guy, yet can't help cheer him on as he confronts everyone from gangsters to cheeky fast food convenience store workers (one who looks amazingly like one of the Brady's) ... and of course a paranoid homophobic neo-nazi Army/Navy Surplus Store owner. - - One downside of the film however is that at times it seems to try so hard to make its point.... My favorite is the "poignant" shot of the American flags falling to the ground in slow motion as Douglas "turns back prices to 1955" and teaches the Korean store owner a lesson about living in "his" country ! - - and also the various "montage" type sequences the director uses to demonstrate urban angst with the eerie incidental music... or even the "not economically viable" viable guy sequence and the shots of Douglas's character sadly watching him as he's arrested and how suddenly (...oh so dramatically) as the cop car stops he turns to him and says, "Don't forget me !" (cue the violins !) - - but the biggest example of the director's possibly intentional use of "over-dramatization" has to be the about to retire cop on his last day of work meaning from the start of the film you wonder when he's gonna it, and the director milks this to the utmost in virtually every line of dialogue whenever Duvall's character appears. - -With all this said, in the end, FALLING DOWN wins back every point in being a great film about urban angst and frustration, even "white rage" (though you don't have to be white to associate with many of Douglas's frustrations) and a film that bears repeated watching... all in all, I would say that by any standard, be it a message, action or "exploitation" film, this is a highly watchable and re-watchable film, so you'd be at a miss not to own a copy of it !...more info
Sentimentality Runs Amuck I have a daughter, too - like the protagonist in this film.
She's studying English composition in high school, and I was helping her study. There was a list of composition terms, like "exposition" and "suspense" and "resolution."
One was "Sentimentality." It made me think of this movie. The writers were trying to place the audience in sympathy with Bill Foster, and did so by creating circumstances around him that middle class white people have heard about or experienced.
The warped edge of sentimentality is that, once you're hooked by it, you can be manipulated by it. So, interest in dramatic quality gets sidetracked by our own visceral need for resolution. We can set aside our moral objections and hope that Bill just kills somebody.
Of course, that's exactly how the makers of the movie reel us in. Gradually we are manipulated into shifting our identification from Bill to Robert Duvall.
What makes this a weak movie, though, is that good movies don't manipulate audiences with sentimentality. Audience identification is welcome and maybe even essential, but who likes to feel outsmarted or manipulated?
When it was first relased, the film succeeded commercially by capitalizing on the sensationalism of its main theme. Now, so many years later, we see how the end result leaves you cold....more info
I'm the Bad Guy? I loved the premise of this movie, sort of a more complex version of Deathwish but by the end I wish I was watching Chuck Bronson instead. It's at the fast food restaurant that Michael Keaton goes from being believably and admiribly vigilante-like to just being a crazy who snaps ..... but then he goes back to harassing old rich guys on golf courses and has you kind of on his side again. Then you find out he's been going nowhere for a month, he screams at his kid, etc. You want to root for him and then he does something over the top (and although that may sound like its making the character more developed, it's really not) I think that had Michael Keaton stood on that line between good guy/bad guy rather than just weaving back and forth the film would have been much mor charged and unsettling. Also I don't mention Bobby Duvall because, even though he's always a great actor, his storyline is boring and don't care about his wife or his retirement. Rent Deathwish instead and get guilty thrills out of Bronson shooting countless street punks....more info
"GOD BLESS THE WORKING STIFF!!!!!" In this excellent film, Michael Douglas plays Bill Foster, an everyday man working in the everyday world, although he is not the example of the American Dream (which to you older folks, no one ever is). He is divorced, has a high level of rage, has been downsized from his defense worker job, and is being scr##ed over by the system. One day, sitting in his car in a traffic jam during a heat wave, he snaps, and starts to walk home through gangland. He first encounters trouble with the system through a Korean shopkeeper, who charges 85 cents for a can of soda. When the shopkeeper attacks Foster, he takes his bat and smashes up the store, which after he leaves, attracts the attention of the LAPD. Along the way, he accquires a bag of weapons, and the movie becomes real interesting...
We all understand what is going through Foster's head, mainly because when a bad day hits its peak, we all, deep down, want to do that to our aggressors. Michael Douglas is great as Foster, while Robert Duvall is equally as great as the detective on his last day, determined to stop Foster. The DVD, however, is horrible (I only got it because it was in the bargain bin). The video and sound are excellent, but the extras are severly lacking. All there is is a trailer that focuses on the comedy elements of the film. A commentary and TV spots would have been nice! Great movie, lousy DVD.
FALLING DOWN (1993, R)
Bill Foster\ D-FENS: Michael Douglas Prendergast: Robert Duvall Beth: Barbara Hershey Amanda Prendergast: Tuesday Weld Sandra: Rachel Ticotin Nick: Fredric Forrest
A great social criticism and a great flick. Sure, Joel Schumacher is billed for his well-established reputation for sensationalism. However, this movie, if anything, comes across as unusually subtle. For anyone who's watched it, I will need to carefully qualify this term. I call it subtle because it is NOT the rampage some reviewers have called it; the "bloody swath" Bill Foster (Michael Douglas) cuts across L.A. is not so much a bloody swath as a directed and thematically-appropriate, if a bit incongruous, set of discrete encounters with various "problem areas" in society. The movie is NOT gorey. Stereotypes do abound, but they are poignant and intentional. A viewer less prone to contemplation may perhaps view this as a man standing up for "right" and "good" in America, and as such, the movie manifests some undesirable, unjustifiable stereotypes. However, upon further reflection, a clear implication on behalf of the screenwriter is that in many cases, the problem is as much with Bill Foster as it is with the person he encounters. All sorts of fundamental social problems America faces are torn wide open here; all of the violence and all of the stereotypes presented are all there to serve a purpose.
That having been said, understand that this movie isn't completely plausible. It is not meant to be. You wonder if Bill Foster is going absolutely insane, or if he's the only sane person he encounters. There are moments when he appears to manifest an outrageous sanity that flies in the face of established social norms. The kinds of issues confronted throughout the movie couldn't be treated so cleverly in a movie any more "reality-based" or any more sensationalistic.
Lastly, the lead acting - Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall - is phenomenal, virtually legendary. The supporting cast is less remarkable. Luckily, we spend about 90% of our time with these two lead actors. They act with sincerity and conviction, and, in reality, make the movie GOOD. With any lesser of a performance in these two lead roles (Bill Foster / Officer Prendergast), the movie may have been flat. It is instead an engaging, meaning-laden powerhouse.
I must encourage everyone to watch this movie, to FACE it, to pay attention, to acknowledge it, and where something seems flagrant, unnecessary, or out of place, read deeper! ...more info
Falling...into love with this film This movie will make you laugh, cry, and think. This guy may seem like a pscho path, but he's just a normal dude that is fed up with all the bull crap in the world. If like action,adventure and love to laugh. This is the one for you. Buy it right now !!!!...more info
Funny Movie Full STop Great Movie !!
Best Line: "I'm an American, you're a sick scum bag." Had me in stitches....more info
And What Are You Looking At? I like one of the other people here really couldn't take the film for the first time watching it; To me it's far too real. We as a country, and as a people of this country have been falling down for the last 20+ years. Our values have been changed, and or twisted to survive. It seems as though we want to please everybody, and yet please nobody. Men and Women these days can't just give each other a friendly hug unless the man has a yearly income of 6-7 figures, and anything goes as sexual harrassment anymore. Racism is not going away quietly in fact it's probably worse now than it was 30-40 years ago. Paranoia is everyone's favorite neighborhood to live in; that way they can justify throwing stones at a glass house. For one man enough was enough. The American Dream was dead to him as he was divorced, and his ex-wife wanted nothing more to do with him, he was downsized from his job, and looking for new work, getting stuck on the freeway in 95 degree heat just makes one man finally say "Enough is Enough". "I'm Mad As Hell, And I'm Not Going To Take It ANYMORE!!!" However, the problem is that this is not what the man wants to really do, but everyone he encounters feels that this is his lot in life. He's a white supremicist, White collar, psycho with pocket protector and a baseball bat. He becomes a hero to one, a robber to another, and a wise-ass old man to a bunch of punks. He just wanted to go home, and see his daughter, he wanted some food, and everyone thought he would do some harm if they didn't comply with his wishes, and he wasn't out to play thier games why stereotype him? Is society's goal that much of a sacred cow to have everyone labeled, and thrown into a file cabinet under thier proper type? Why is it that important? Mind you I'm writing this shortly after listening to Janis Ian's 1967 hit "Society's Child", and I'm feeling some bitterness right now. However, after this movie was released National Enquier released an article with Michael Douglas who played the man in this movie being quoted as saying he hates what America has become. In a lot of ways I have too. Unfortunately, alot of the hippies that hated America 30-40 years before have developed the same callous attitude that thier fathers passed on to them. "Love It, or Leave It". "There's the door; you can leave if you want to." Like "First Blood" there's alot of prejudice in this movie, and all the man wants is an anchor to hold onto as his life is in a extreme downward spiral, and all people can do is pass the buck, so they don't have to deal with him. Instead of his wife telling him to just get some help from a shrink there could've been an opprtunity to try, and get him to spill his guts some more, and maybe reconcile, but that's the way of the world anymore. "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves", and "I Don't Want To Hear It; You're Disturbing My Karma." No one wants to help because that would mess up society's file cabinet, and they themselves could get messed up doing that. The unfortunate character was that of Robert Duvall who had to shoot Douglas on his last day on the police force. I'm sure the character was a reasonable man otherwise, but that's what we'll unfortunately remember. The law must be observed and protected. It's a cold place here anymore, and until we can really mean the words "Come On People Now; Smile On Your Brother...Everybody Get Together, Try To Love One Another Right Now." the world will remain a very cold and desolate place where everyone must suffer in silence because they believe that's the way they show that they're strong. ...more info
"I'm the bad guy?" Joel Schumacher could've had a killer movie: a feature-length newspaper headline reading "Angry White Male Cuts Swath of Destruction Across L.A." It couldah been a contendah. And besides, how can you go wrong with Douglas and Duvall?
But it does go wrong. First, we get recycled ethnic characters from every possible ethnic group (AWMs included in Douglas himself, wearing 60s knock-off classes, a white shirt and a pocket protector for heaven's sake). Even then, the movie could have been great in a schlocky kind of way, a fantasy revenge flick for AWMs. But then Schumacher totally blows the other parts of the story, particularly Duvall's Detective Prendergast as a recycled detective-on-the-verge-of-retirement, a cliche so common that it's been repeatedly lampooned in movies like "Short Time" and cartoons like "The Simpsons": "No! NO! MENDDDOOOOZAAA!"
In short: great principle story and actors ruined by tired supporting characters and secondary plot.
The name is Nick The best part of this movie happened in the army/navy supply store. The guy Nick played his part so well that one couldn't help but be impressed. Even the most politically correct people can't help but laugh at him. Nick was the movie and well someone should tell Duval to play another role besides a cop....more info
on the edge takes an interesting premise and then takes it a bit too far. In addition, I felt that the movie went for the easy gags/shock effect, like the pepsi incident, while he was trying to make a phone call. And call me crazy, but have you ever heard of a cop on his last day before retirement acting like Duval did? Ya godda be kidding, the movie fell down, er..., on that alone!!...more info
I had to laugh......... Michael Douglas as a nerd-gone-psychotic...living at home with his totally oblivious mother...flashbacks of his wife and child who could not stand the "horsey" he made her ride when she was a toddler....
Robert Duvall's shrew wife demanding he be home on time for dinner.....and going ballistic when his female partner answers his phone...
This film has it's stereotypes, but it was entertaining. I especially liked the fast food restaurant scene, when MD demanded BREAKFAST! Also when he went up on the freeway demanding the DOT workers to answer "why" the road was being torn up.....his bungling of the rocket launcher (and the kid telling him how to fire it) was totally comical!
Ahhh, Michael, what a gorgeous NERD you made! ;)...more info
Love it and hate it This is one of the most haunting films I have ever seen. I saw it only once, when it was first released, and I both loved it and hated it, but I can't forget it. It affected me so strongly because I am a middle aged, white, defense engineer, in Los Angeles. Judging by the other reviews, people see different things in it. But to me it was the only film I have ever seen that expresses the frustration of us who grew up in the 50's and 60's in nice clean middle class neighborhoods thinking that someday we would live just like the Cleavers in a beautiful house in a neighborhood with trees and lawns, and then we grow up and get a job and suddenly find ourselves in a congested, smoggy, paved over place like Los Angeles where we are the minority race. Now I know people will immediately think "racist!" But what I am talking about is just the shock of such a rapid change in society in one generation. I think anyone of any race in any country would feel the same if their country changed so rapidly.
The first half of the film was extremely powerful in portraying this frustration. Bill just wants to go home, but the traffic won't move. He abandons his car and starts to walk. Shouldn't a citizen be able to walk safely thru their own town? But it isn't his town anymore, he is an alien in his own city. He walks thru MacArthur Park, remember that song "MacArthur Park is melting in the rain"? I always thought MacArthur Park must be a beautiful place, but if you go there now you feel like you are in Guatemala, or a drug dealers convention. And the scene at Bill's mother's house is so true to life. A little old lady who bought her house 40 years ago in a nice middle class neighborhood where the kids could play outside who now finds the neighborhood changed around her and she needs bars on the doors and windows. I see that every day in Los Angeles, old white haired people adrift in a world they don't understand. So I was very impressed that the makers of this film had the insight and courage to express this very non-politically-correct feeling.
But in the last half of the film they seemed to cave-in to political correctness. The scene with the neo-nazi surplus store owner seemed to be put in only to appease the liberals in the audience and to try to make sure everyone knew that Bill is not a "racist." Also, there seemed to be no blacks in the film at all, even though the hamburger place was supposed to be in South Central LA. It is as if the film makers thought it was OK to stereotype hispanics and asians, but they were afraid to offend blacks. This seemed like a cop-out to me.
And the worst was the ending, where after the whole movie has made you identify and feel for Bill, the smugness of the police officer and the complete uncaring of his wife just infuriated me. After-all, even though Bill broke some laws, all the violence he did was in self-defense. So I have never seen the film again, and yet I still remember every bit of it, after 13 years, which is not something I can say about most films....more info
Good concept, poor execution Falling Down is a movie about the average Joe's frustrations with a sick world. The performances by Douglas and Duvall are both outstanding. The big problem that I had with this movie was that it seemed that the director was trying too hard to prove his point. Here's two examples to show what I mean. First, Douglas' encounter at the fast-food restaurant is a bit overblown. I admit that it is frustrating to miss breakfast by only a few minutes at one of these restaurants, but is it really that big of a deal? It almost seems that the director had to justify Douglas drawing his automatic by having the employees act like complete jerks. Even then, one must realize that the employees are under stress just like Douglas is and can hardly be blamed for getting angry when a customer disagrees with a blanket policy set by the company's corporate headquarters that they cannot change. The second example involves Duvall's encounter with his captain. The captain says something to the effect of, "I know it's your last day, and just so you know, I never liked you." My initial reaction was that Duvall is surrounded by the same sick world as Douglas, but would a real boss, no matter how cruel, really say that? Once again, the director is simply trying to prove his point by stretching the limits of our reality. Falling Down leaves us with a feeling that we live in an absolutely detestable world. Maybe sometimes we can agree with this statement; however, I think that the director failed to realize that the world really isn't as bad as he portrays it....more info
In D-Fens of Falling Down: Great Social Commantary After watching "Downfall" my friend and I decided it was only appropriate to see "Falling Down". It has been 10 years since I have seen the film but yet it still is a very effective film. Feeling like a film out of the 1970's with "in your face cinematography" we know from the very first scene this film is going to be making a statement. However, while many say this film is a social commentary on the average white man's place in society and "white mans rage" I am inclined to believe that this film is more of a commentary of the extremities of society and how interaction between social groups is nearly impossible. The film is effective on many levels even though it does have a very dated feel. It is interesting and yet fun to watch and even though the geeky middle-aged protagonist (or antagonist) is clearly "off his rocker" you can't help pitying him often. The film pulls few punches as it portrays several different social groups. While the film certainly isn't really believable it is very well done and Michael Douglas does a bang-up job as Bill a.k.a. "D-Fens".
Starting out in one of the many class-leveling experiences of modern society, morning rush-hour traffic, the film shows how quickly everyone reacts wildly when a person steps out of line. Dfens, sick of the insanity of the morning, leaves his automobile as it stand on the highway and takes a walk. Soon in need of change he enters a Korean immigrant's convenience store. The store's proprietor, though he should be happy to be in America, is less than obliging and sells his wares at exorbitant prices to the dismay of D-Fens. Taking matters into his own hands, D-Fens lowers the prices of the stuff in the store while assaulting the Korean. He leaves with a cut down baseball bat, a coke and the store in ruins. Taking his troubles elsewhere, D-fens enters gang infested territory where he stops to read the help wanted pages of the paper and fix his shoe. He is then visited by some Mexican American Gangsters who attempt to mug D-fens. Though things go badly for them as he beat them with the bat he took from the Korean. At this point he picks up a butterfly knife that one of the gangsters drops.
The Gangsters, who were beat up by D-Fens, regroup and with an arsenal of assault weapons hop into their car looking for D-Fens who sticks out like a sore thumb in the minority filled streets. When they see him they shoot up the streets killing several innocents though completely missing D-Fens. In their shooting spree the gangsters also get into a terrible car accident and while losing live, D-Fens finds them grabs their guns and shoots one of them in the leg. Eventually he also kills a Neo-Nazi militant interrupts a game of Golf and watches an elitist rich man die of a heart attack, and interrupts a caretaker's families' barbeque in behind his boss' mansion. All the while the police, who remain aloof to D-Fen's wife and mother, close in on this man who continually is crossing societal boundaries.
In the end, D-Fens is shot by a police man who seemingly spent most of his career behind a desk and who is also working his last day before retirement. At this point, honestly surprised, D-fens questions "I'm the bad guy", as he explains how the system has ruined his life. This film portrays American society not as a melting pot, but a salad bowl. We are all living in the same region but are so very different and so extremely isolated from each other. While this film doesn't attempt to dissolve out differences it does seem to suggest that we are all by our divisions not able to act outside of our sub-group without grave repercussions. This is an interesting idea and the film ends leaving the viewer with many questions to ponder. D-Fens is not a hero but his actions make us question the comfort we seek in our lives and how little we know of the other groups that live in our area. I recommend this film to teens and above and think it should be watch casually yet with serious intent.
A little bit in all of us!! This movie seems to exude feelings that the average Joe has everyday in this country. The disgust and utter contempt one feels for the injustices occurring everywhere. This movie is 10 years old but has just as much meaning in the new Millennia as it did in the 90's. It's about an average man, Bill Foster played by Michael Douglas, on the verge of cracking. He's lost his wife to a divorce, lost custody of his daughter, and lost his job. It takes the painful LA traffic and a broken air conditioner in his car to push him over the edge. Thus starts his journey. This movie is his story and his trek through LA to get back home. It's about his abhorrence of everything wrong and he's not afraid to make it known. This movie seems to convey the thoughts of many people in the US and it helps one empathize with his character. You can't help routing for this guy. He's just trying to make it home and bad things keep happening. They get progressively worse and he gets progressively more violent. Some of the things he does will make you want to cheer. But in the grand scheme of things you feel sad for him.
This movie is unique in the fact that there's not a true protagonist and a true antagonist. Robert Duvall plays a cop, Prendergast, who is very similar to Michael Douglas' character. He too is plagued by problems and he's such a warm character in the movie that one can't help but feel sorry for him. His wife is having a nervous breakdown, and his only daughter passed away. He has a desk job now because his wife wanted him off the streets and he's at his last day at work because he's retiring. The other cops at the precinct, with exception to his partner, all give him a hard time. During his last day he gets reports of incidences that he thinks are caused by the same person. These incidences are in fact caused by Michael Douglas' character...And Robert Duvall wants to stop him.
So it becomes good guy vs. not so bad guy. A cop vs. a self-made vigilante. Who do you route for?? This is a sad movie that depicts what might happen if a regular Joe Schmoe were to snap.
The story, combined with great performances and an awesome, and I do mean awesome, musical score, makes this movie well worth seeing! It's a very powerful movie that is funny at times and sad at others. Anyone who's ever been angry at something will enjoy this movie. Oh... if you're not sane please don't watch this movie. It will give you ideas....more info
falling down you ever had one of those day's? watch this and it will make you feel better...more info
'Falling Down' (Warner Studios) Running time: 112 minutes Review no.145.Outstanding motion picture about an extremly frustrated man,William Foster(Michael Douglas)who's just been laid off from his job at the local defense plant.As he tries to get to his ex-wife's house to celebrate his daughter's birthday,he happens to come across some rather unpleasant experiences that one could only stumble upon in such rough neighborhoods of Los Angeles.Police officer,Prendergast(Robert Duvall)is merely one day before retirement as he puts in an above and beyond the call of duty effort to one way or another stop Foster from causing any more destruction than he already has.I've spoken with several movie fans who actually think this movie is funny.It's certainly not meant to be that way at all.Overall,an excellent drama/thriller.Most memorable scene:where Foster winds up in an army surplus store where he's confronted by this Nazi whack job that wants to befriend him as one of his own.Great acting and directing....more info
Could have been better - the first half is great, and then... Have you ever had ENOUGH ALREADY of Fast Food
places pulling the switch of breakfast to lunch
on you? Are you tired of punk spraypainters ruining
your neighborhood, if you live in/near a big city?
Tired of being overcharged by store owners that
barely speak 'the queen's Amer-I-can'? Then the
first half of this well filmed and very well acted
movie is for you. Based on a WASPy novel about a
laid-off DEFENS worker who "get's back some of his
own" on the society and the 'Political Stupidity'
around him, Michael Douglas does a good job here.
However I was a bit leary of this movie when I saw
the name of Israeli arms dealer extrordinarie, Arnon
Milchen [pronounced ar-NON MILL-chin], in the credits.
This film could have been a "Populist" favorite for yrs.,
to come - until the film unravels to the point of when
Douglas character quizically says to one of Virginia's
finest-ever Actors, Robert Duval('s character), near the
end, 'I'm the bad guy?', and procedes to get blown away
by pulling a water gun on the retiring-cop-on-his-last-
day! By then you must think to yourself, "What's the use
[or point!]..."...more info
Zorba the White Guy I somehow managed to miss this movie when it was new and saw it for the first time a few days ago (circa mid 2005) and have been haunted by it ever since. Michael Douglas gives a masterful performance, the best I've ever seen him give, as a thoroughly forgettable middle class White Guy facing the same urban pressures many of us (at least here in the good old USA) face daily, and snapping. After being caught in an L.A. traffic jam with a disfunctional air conditioner he does the thing many of us have thought of doing but somehow never managed to quite do: He gets out out his car (license plate D-FENS) and walks away. From there, Douglas' character goes on an orgy of 'doing the things we all have been tempted to do, but somehow don't'. From trashing a rude, venal convenience store owner's enterprise to offing a homophobic Nazi sympathizer (who makes the mistake of assuming Douglas' character is 'one of us'). Douglas is on a mission and at the point of dispatching (by any means necessary) any and all impediments to that mission. The mission: to give his little girl a birthday present, ultimately to "go home" and reestablish his life (somehow) to "what it used to be" before his ex-wife (understandably) kicked him out. I won't synopsize the movie any further (except to say that Robert Duvall gives his typical amazing performance, the kind that justifies the art and profession of acting in spite of everybody else out there who call themselves actors), others here have done a fine job at that, so I won't try to repeat them. I'll just add a reaction that I had that I didn't see in other's reviews. Somewhere in the middle of the movie I realized that I recognized Douglas' character, that I'd seen this guy somewhere else and couldn't for the life of me quite figure out where. Now, this character is a pretty unlikely one, a guy whose entire being is focused down to exactly one tiny little, gleaming, diamond hard task that he will let NOTHING interfere with, or even slow down. A guy whose goals we tend to sympathize with, but whose methods we can't (quite) bring ourselves to tollerate. As Daniel Jolley put it in her review above, "in a clearly psychotic way, I find this movie somewhat touching," a sentiment apparently shared by almost all the other 'amature reviewers' on Amazon's site (who for the most part did a magnificent job reviewing this movie, by the way). Touche, Ms. Jolley! Back to my own point: After brooding over it for a long time I finally realized where I'd seen this character before; as the hero of almost all of Nikos Kazanzatkas' novels. In particlar, Douglas' character IS St. Francis of Assisi as portrayed in Kazanzatkas' novel of the same name (published as 'God's Pauper: Saint Francis of Assisi' in England), or, to a somewhat lesser extent, Jesus in 'The Last Temptation of Christ', or Zorba in Kazanzatkas' best known novel. For anyone who has ever read a Kazanzatkas novel, this should strike a chord. Kazanzatkas' heros are NEVER 'good guys', their goals are far too big for such trivial classifications to be appropriate, at least in the view of the hero in question, as they are for Douglass' character. They are habitually, and constantly, at odds with society around them, are on missions that (by their lights) are far more important than the few little people who may, regretably, become incidental casualties of their quest. They are, in a word, psychotic. I, for one, have found Kazanzatkas' work so magnificently powerful in part because of the way he manages to explore this tension between personal lunacy (his St. Francis would spend his entire life in a straight jacket today) and the quest for higher truths/goals. Perhaps, if it could have happened, 'Falling Down' would have recieved a far less ambivalent reception oh, say 200 years ago, when people were more used to thinking of the 'big picture', more willing, at least hypothetically, to sacrifice the individual in persuit of the larger truth. I'm not sure what that reception would have been, but I don't think it would have been ambivalent. I also believe that the Amazon reviewers of the early 1800's wouldn't mistake this as a movie about 'White Rage', or 'Urban Violence' any more than the story of St. Francis is a story about 'animal rights', or 'The Last Temptation of Christ' is a call for marriage in the priesthood. Kazanzatkas (and St. Francis, and Jesus, and Douglas' character) had bigger fish to fry. I won't presume to propose an opinion on the nature of those fish, since that would undermine the entire point of this movie I think, to get YOU to think about the nature of the big fish. It's had that effect on me at any rate, as a Kazanzatkas novel does.
If you've ever read a Kazanzatkas novel (all the way through I mean) then you should own a copy of this movie. You will look at it periodically, and brood, and think of St. Francis, and big fish, and other psychotics. ...more info
Turn off the light! Somehow, all of us - through the time of our lives - have experienced a border line situation. Sometimes you may control yourself, but others simply are out of control, grow in intensity and involve you with unpredictable consequences.
A middle class man, rigid and austere is in the traffic when the day begins. And suddenly in a crucial scene that reminded me so much to 81/2, he gets off his car and runs to evade the ominous reality and troubling stress.
Without hesitating, he decides to make his own codes in the urban jungle. The camera will be the loyal witness that will allow to engage with him and even understand the reasoning beneath the madness.
The psychological process of self destruction was carried to unexpected limits. Haunting and unforgettable film that needed perhaps a more dramatic punch, but with a so well supporting cast that you may excuse some holes in the script and melodramatic concessions: Barbara Hershey, as always, shone with her own light as his wife, and so Robert Duvall as the implacable chaser was overwhelming too.
To my mind this has been the second best performance of Michael Douglas after Wall Street.
A Film That Isn't Afraid Of Boundaries The film starts off with Michael Douglas sitting in his car, caught in traffic while on his way to work. His hair is cut short, he wears thick black-rimmed glasses, nice black pants with a nice shirt and a tie to go along. He represents the average American businessman. As we see from the very opening, this man has been pushed over the edge by society. He believes that he is right, and everyone that argues with him is wrong.
After a few long minutes of sitting in completely stopped traffic, he becomes so frusterated that he gets out of his car in the middle of the freeway, and just walks off. This is how the day starts for D-Fens (License plate name) as he looses his mind, and encounters many people on his way. The initial thing about this film that surprised me was that it wasn't afraid of boundaries. Michael Douglas' character is bold, racist, violent, and profane...so there's a good chance that a handful of viewers would find this film to be highly offensive. I give this movie credit for pushing the envelope and not caring what anybody says.
The main thing that I liked about Falling Down was how much it struck a chord with me. I always look for films that are different and share some same ideas that I have. I also believe that society is corrupt, and this film shows it.
Along with the great acting, Falling Down is highly enjoyable and holds up on repeated viewings. The DVD is average, with good picture and sound quality, so I don't have any reason to complain. It seems that most viewers either love or hate this film, so see it for yourself so you can determine...which category do you fall into?...more info
A Real Tour De Force This movie is now 10 years old, and being discovered by a whole new audience, but the story and plot are essentially timeless. A good subtitle to this movie could have been "Good Guys Finish Last" as we follow the spiral of ultimate self destruction Michael Douglas embarks on to it's climatic, if reasonably predictable conclusion. The plot is quite simple, a middle class hard working, respectable man with no hint of a criminal past, or even propensity for violent or abnormal behavour is gradually pushed, up to and over the edge of his personal tolerance level. What results is him crashing down on the other side, and taking casualties with him as he "falls down". I find it inconceivable to think that most of us will not be able to relate to at least some of the burdens that befall him, and this is the real power of the film. After losing his job (due to policy and cutbacks), an acrimonous divorce, and a general crummy hand he has been dealt he begins to act upon every tiny thing that has and does frustrates him (as many things frustrate us all) as he journeys through the movie, with devastating results. I don't know if there is a message in the film, but it is certainly compelling, and often gripping. Robert Duvall puts in a terrific performance as a veteran cop with one day to retirement who begins to piece together the unlikely string of events, in a powerful subplot which runs in tandem with the exploits of Douglas, until the two cross paths toward the end of the picture. Gritty, often graphic, and very powerful - this movie will live with you a long time after you have viewed it, for many reasons (most I which I don't have time to list here). If you haven't seen this movie yet, do so - I cannot recommend it enough....more info
A film that really leaves its mark on you This is a powerful film, but I personally don't look at it as some type of social commentary or condemnation of modern society, although it certainly touches on some of the problems that will always exist among human beings. Falling Down may well have a potent effect on anyone watching it, though. It always leaves me feeling really, really weird because it touches on so many things we all have to put up with each day, presents a monster whom I can't help but sympathize with in some degree, provides us with a hero whose own life is rife with undeserved problems, and runs its course atop a strong undercurrent of sadness. Michael Douglas gives one of his better performances as Bill Foster, an unremarkable man who finds his world torn apart and finally just snaps. He has lost his wife and little girl (which is his own fault); he's lost his job, the one thing that made him feel important; he just wants things to be like they used to be. He doesn't want to sit in traffic with no air conditioning or pay almost a dollar for a little can of soda or see plastic surgeons living the life of Riley while he can't even support his little girl. His journey "home" is an extraordinary one, and the kinds of awful people he encounters on the way do nothing to help his mentality. It's hard not to cheer him on when he manages to effect an escape from a couple of gangsters trying to rob him, but acts such as holding a burger joint up just because they refuse to serve him breakfast after lunch time is, obviously, way out there. No matter what terrible things he does, though, I can't get completely past the fact that he earnestly wants to see his little girl and give her a present for her birthday; in a clearly psychotic way, I find this movie somewhat touching, and that only makes the whole experience more depressing than it already is.
Robert Duvall is indeed quite good as the good cop, Prendergast, pursuing this vigilante on his last day before retirement. His life is no dream either, but of course he handles his own problems in a way quite unlike our man Foster does. His wife is clearly disturbed, made frighteningly burdensome and vulnerable by the death of their own little girl and an earlier wounding of her husband on the job. For her benefit, he took a desk job and is forced to put up with a lot of jokes and insults from his fellow cops, including his own boss. Except for his partner, all of the cops in this film are as unfeeling and cruel as some of the shady characters Foster meets up with during his journey home, and that is to me one of the more disturbing aspects of this film.
One of the things I liked most about Falling Down was its attempt to portray Foster as one very disturbed man and not a stand-in for any type of stereotypical vigilante; one character in particular makes this point quite clearly when, discovering that Foster doesn't actually agree with him in his own twisted, stereotypically extremist mindset, he asks the man just what kind of vigilante he is supposed to be. My own thinking is that Falling Down is not meant to be a warning about a group of potential Bill Fosters festering in the midst of society; instead, by showing us what happens to one man, it is warning us to walk carefully on our own journeys and to be careful to keep our tempers in check even when the world seems to be out to get us. At the same time, it doesn't imply that we should roll over and play dead whenever a problem comes our way, using the character of Prendergast to show us that we can and should stand up for ourselves but only in constructive ways. I really have a lot of conflicting emotions about this film, but the one thing I am sure of is that Falling Down is an unforgettable motion picture well worth seeing....more info
Too bad to be... true? If you are a follower, who would rather not think for yourself but instead follow others just to ensure you fit into society, you may subconsciously reject this movie.
Because you don't want to believe it.
Unfortunately, for the few of us who not only live reality, but also fully experience the things this movie portrays, understand it, and wish it was completely different...
This movie will hit you where it counts.
All I can say is, they knew EXACTLY what they were doing when they made this film. They knew exactly what, exactly how, and exactly why.
A confused and fascinating movie "Falling Down" is a sly combination of a social commentary, a conventional action movie, and a sad character study. It's an odd and sometimes unsettling mix - sometimes the horror of what we're watching is undermined by the catchphrase-laden dialogue of our anti-hero - but it's a compelling, reasonably gutsy movie that raises a lot of questions.
Michael Douglas, mostly known as D-FENS, has snapped. He leaves his car on a blistering day in LA and goes for a walk, only to face a series of annoyances that Larry David woulda loved - irritating convenience-store policies, fast-food fascism, gang-bangers, even a neo-nazi. Instead of cracking wise, however, D-FENS responds with violence and vandalism.
Meanwhile, back at the LAPD, Robert Duvall is a low-impact cop on his last day of the job. He's not well-liked, even though he seems to be a perfectly nice guy. He starts tracking these strange reports of a white nerd on a rampage, and ultimately gets involved with the case.
The movie seems designed to generate controversy, with its casual xenophobia and the sometimes pandering actions of the Michael Douglas character. Look deeper, though, and you'll note that Duvall's cop is basically a well-adjusted version of D-FENS. Both men feel utterly insignificant, only Duvall has learned how to laugh and get through life, while Douglas is bewildered and disillusioned - and deeply sad.
Things get even more confused when we learn Douglas has shown violence toward his family in the past, and may have a sinister goal in mind. This is probably unsettling to those who have been cheering him on, but who can blame them? Douglas is given pithy dialogue and exit lines for each of his encounters, as if we're supposed to applaud when he destroys, say, a Korean man's business. If Schumacher had downplayed the mayhem, or showed the violence as the actions of a desperate, sadly warped man (instead of a spokesman for the overlooked white man), the movie would have more power. But would anyone want to see it? The movie's ambivalence about the actions of D-FENS is fascinating and refreshingly non-judgmental.
"Falling Down" is just as haunting for its flaws as its virtues. If it's meant to be a commentary, it undercuts itself with its action sequences. As an action drama, however, it's pretty deep and fearless in presenting men of quiet desperation - and two different methods for conquering it....more info
The "editorial review" missed the whole point This will be a commentary on the "editorial review" of the movie for other Amazon users have already given good reviews of it. It seemed to me like the pro. missed the first 10 minutes of the film, and missed what was happening around him in the early '90s. As a former defense worker I can assure you that this is the only sympathetic movie out there for the tens of thousands of people who lost their jobs due to permanent downsizing. I was not one of them but I survived a 50% downsize, no morale booster in itself.
Michael Douglas has been in defense for 2+ decades. He's laid off. Just like that. It's about how a def. worker comes out into the real Central/East/South LA at that time and is in disbelief that people treat each other the way they do. In silence, he looks around at this place and I'm thinking he's wondering why he spent his life building weapons to save these people from being occupied by other countries. It has cost him his wife, custody of his child, and now he is "thanked" by being made redundant. He'd just like to show up at his daughter's birthday party, against his wife's wishes. Yeah, as he runs into trouble along the way he gets more desparate and more isolated. The cop pursuing him played by Robert Duvall is also obsolete, which gives him insight into finding him.
I guess the editor, Marshall Fine, was living in his own world when he wrote his review of the movie....more info
Great Anti-Hero Movie I loved this movie. Michael Douglas is masterful and plays one of the best anti-hero characters since DeNiro's Taxi Driver. If you love dark comedies this movie is for you.
Michael Douglas plays a man (with a temper) who becomes overwhelmed with the "BS" of the world and finally fights back. He proceeds to go on a rampage and act out against all the things he finds to be wrong in the world.
This movie is great and is worth owning in one's DVD collection.
Movies I recommend in addition to this one OR movies that, if you liked them, I think you will like this:
-Welcome to the Dollhouse (Solondz)
-Any Quentin Tarantino
-Taxi Driver...more info
Falling Down I don't know why I missed this one, years ago! Even today, years later, there is something within it that many of us can relate, within today's society. I guess some things do not change, with the passage of time. The areas of the law; (or lack of, I should say) the lack of respect for one another; and the presures of reality which can push many of us too far, are clearly present within this movie. Also for me, the fears and pressures of a pending retirement, I can relate to very well. It's a well done story, with interesting insights. I highly suggest it for mature, realistic adults. I purchased two; one for relatives. And as for liberals: Avoid this movie. The truth might frighten you....more info
Take your pick! "A tale of urban reality". It's not like this round our bit of urban. Michael 'nepotism' Douglas stars as either a victim of modern society frustrated to the point of madness by the callousness of a post-industrial wilderness where the rights of the individual are challenged at every turn and decency and civility are lost in a maelstrom of consumerism and corporate heartlessness, or a self-obsessed moany nutter - take your pick.
The best bit is right at the start in the convenience store because the Korean bloke's hilarious, but it's got a good cast including Robert Duvall and Barbara 'obvious nickname' Hershey....more info
D-Fens Falling Down
Director: Joel Schumacher
Review by: Flint McColgan
Expertly directed by Joel Schumacher, Falling Down is the fantastic story of a man who has come to the end of his patience for the filthy, dissappointing world around him, and he sets out to fix it.
Michael Douglas gives a startingly great performance as Bill Foster, "an ordinary man" who designs missiles to defend America from "the communists." Foster leads a rather miserable life; his ex-wife, Elizabeth, has a restraining order against him, his daughter is growing up without him experiencing it, he lives with his mother, he has a car with no air conditioning on the hottest day of the year, and he's pissed.
The construction sign keeps saying "DELAY," "DELAY," "DELAY," the kids in the school bus next to him are loud, an ugly woman is applying way too much lipstick, a fly is driving him out of his mind, a tacky "Garfield" stuffed-animal is stuck to the window of a car with children, people are shouting into a cell phone in a convertible, and it's hot, too hot. Foster just wants to go home. It's his daughter, Adele's, birthday.
Detective Prendergast, played by Robert Duvall, is just trying to finish up his last day on the job before moving to some town with a lake in Arizona with his mentally-ill, manipulative wife when he picks up some on connections in a string of chaotic events. He has never really been taken seriously as a cop because he is too gentle and just not one of the guys. Now he struggles to resolve the madness despite gradually becoming a civilian again.
Bill has worked hard for his country, got a Purple Heart in Vietnam, works for the defense of the nation and all around him is filth. America is the land of the free, the home of the brave... None of these worthless pieces of garbage around him are worthy of it, even of life.
The acting is truly amazing... Douglas almost lead me to tears in his confused reaction to his life and world crumbling, (or,rather, "falling") down around him. Duvall is bearly recognizable as the as the actor Duvall, but, instead, totally embodies his character to someone you can almost come to know as a friend. Barbara Hershey, as Elizabeth, balances both her undeniable fear of and love of Bill, who she really just wants to get better and finally be happy.
Supporting characters and minor-role characters really shine with their characters and provide enough depth to where you actually end up hating, loving, or feeling sorry for them. Foster's mother, Lois Smith, gives a very depressing image of a mother who has forgotten how to live and tries to replace this by befriending glass statues. Frederic Forrest disgusts the audience with his interpretation of a crazy, Nazi-sympathizing Surplus Store owner who tries to ally himself with Foster.
Falling Down presents a world, Las Angeles and surrounding areas, filled with struggling immigrant shop keepers, brutish street gangs, dirty scammers and a homeless population to compete with the homeowners. This rather chaotic, yet familiar, populace is not helping the already dreary lives of the main characters who all present their own webs of sad, lonely histories in this very memorable, compassionate, and highly enertaining film.
4 / 5
Bill Foster is commonly referred to as "D-Fens," because that was what was written on his license plate. This is wrong, because usually characters are credited as things other than their names because we do not know their real names. An example is "Bandaged Street Thug" being a credit for a character that was, well, a gang-member that happens to be prominently bandaged in some way. Another example would be crediting a spokesperson for a company as "[Company Name] Spokesperson"). An argument to this would be that Bill had changed into "D-Fens" when he went on his rampage. I don't believe this, however, because, from the backstory we learn in the film, he has always been an tempermental, dysfunctional man....more info
Falling Down for Standing UP Douglas goes on a rampage. He's lost his wife, his daughter, and his job. His no fear attitude drives this movie to the edge, causing you to laugh, and cry. He has a straight forward approach to his problems, from traffic jams, immigrants that speak poor english, gang-banger thugs, to white supremists, fast food businesses that show the thick juicy sandwich but serve dry pieces of cardboard, and making sure his daughter is financially well-off. Duvall does an excellent job as a co-star tracking down the flipped out Douglas....more info
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire This movie taps into the core of what's wrong with our "society." First of all, it shows that we don't actually live in a society, we live in a cesspool.
The definition of a society is a "group of people distinguished from others by mutual interests, shared institutions, and a common culture." And I don't mean consumerism.
During the film, however, we don't see things that resemble "mutual interests" and "shared institutions." What we see is multiculturalism, which is the opposite of culture. We see groups fighting against one another, struggling to survive. We see people stuck in traffic like cattle on the way to slaughter. The only thing people share in common is paying their taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. The government has to milk all of its cows. And when they're done using you, they discard you like a piece of garbage. People are reduced to cogs in a machine.
One of the most poignant scenes of the film involves a black man trying to get a loan from the bank, but he's declined because he is not "economically viable," in other words the bank believes he isn't worth exploiting. The bottom line for the bank is profit. So he gets thrown to the curb. People are treated like numbers and ratios: which amount to dollar signs. Some "community," eh?
Deceit is another theme in Falling Down. People are often misled and taken advantage of in society. The cheeseburger on the menu always looks bigger and tastier than in it does in real life. These subtle acts of lying are common enough in our world that people don't care or notice.
I wonder how long will it take before everything bursts at the seams? If this movie is any indication, it'll be sooner rather than later. Thank our "elected" officials for selling out America. As my favorite bumper sticker points out, "we don't have a democracy, we have an auction."
Well, it's time to go watch Jerry Springer....more info
"I'm the Bad Guy!?" Arguably Michael Douglas's best acting performance in this gritty, urban "everyman's" tale of reaching the breaking point...and then some. Compelling direction told in near "real time," with one of the best, most diverse and talented supporting casts ever assembled.
The big disappointment with this DVD is the non existence of any special features! That is the only reason I didn't give it a 5 Star Review. Douglas, Hershey, Duvall...Writer, Director, Casting Director...all would have been compelling commentators!
Blu review Had been hoping for this title to hit Blu since the start as there is so much to preserve here, and in the end - it has been bittersweet. I am a big fan of the film, am happy to see it on Blu, but there are so many missteps by Warner here I couldn't in good conscience give this five stars.
Picture: The remaster looks good on Blu. That yellow lens provides a nice richness to the urban sprawl in hidef. The clarity, other colors and panoramas look cleaned up, and there is only a sparse artifact depending on the scene.
Sound: The old 2.0 - yech.
Commentary: I am so split on this one. The packaging and online listings show a commentary by "Michael Douglas and Director Joel Schumacher". In actuality - that is furthest from the truth. The track actually has Edie Roe Smith (writer), Paul Hirsch (editor), Michael Paul Chan (actor), a 1993 recording of Michael Douglas, and a non-scene specific rambling by Joel. Once this unknown dude starts the track with this lame introduction - I knew we were in trouble. All of the recordings were obviously done at different locations and are sometimes not scene-specific. But, the tidbits of great information from the creators make for a commentary you will want to hear.
Conversation with Michael Douglas: (10 minutes) Would have almost wanted to hear this in the commentary instead. They do an updated interview but splice in all of these degraded film shots of the movie. It was distracting but at the same time was nice to see MD come back for a talk.
The Book/Cover Art: Warner did that glued-on paper leaflet thing again. I already tore it off and the resulting picture of Douglas with film credits is much nicer. The book is nice, but the essay is more of an ad plug than anything at the Criterion level of intellectual worthiness. The only page I found worthy out of the twenty is the trivia page of five fun facts, which were mostly already known.
The Menu: Does not exist in the normal form. The movie auto plays so you have to stop it to get to what they have for a main menu - which looks like a supplemental page. Probably one of the worst Blu menus I have seen. Not a deal breaker, but just adds to the feel that Warner did not put the effort into the packaging/logistics part of this product.
Overall, I am happy with having it for my customers. The special features appear to be the same between the Deluxe Edition and this one. Since there are no upgrades to sound mixing, no updated commentary by Douglas, unfavorable packaging and presentation, and some mislabeling I could only give this four stars. ...more info
Falling Down - Blu-ray Info Version: U.S.A / Warner / Region Free
VC-1 BD-25 / Advanced Profile 3 / AACS
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Running time: 1:52:36
Movie size: 21,785,567,232 bytes (21,78 GB)
Disc size: 23,023,352,785 bytes (23,02 GB)
Total bit rate: 25.80 Mbps
Average video bit rate: 20.10 Mbps
Subtitles: English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
Number of chapters: 33
#Audio Commentary by Michael Douglas and Director Joel Schumacher
#A Conversation With Michael Douglas (SD - 10m:11s)
#Theatrical trailer...more info
Intense and Darkly Funny Falling Down is one of Douglas' greatest performances as a 40-year-old nerd who, on a hot day in the middle of traffic, starts to have a breakdown, trying to get to his young daughter's birthday party, even though he's divorced and his wife keeps telling him he can't come. Along the way, no matter how big or small the obstacles, (including un-fair fast-food restaurants, lazy construction workers, expensive convenience stores, a gang of punks, or fanatic military vets), he's determined to make it home, even if it means death. Duvall is the cop who is tired of the job and is retiring within the day, yet who quickly and voluntarily gets involved with tracking Douglas' rampage across Los Angeles. Douglas, although inspirational at first at how he makes a stand for himself among the many inconveniences of society, gets genuinely and convincingly creepy and loony as the movie progresses from big to enormous. Although what happens along his trip home is anything but funny, this movie has plenty of dark comedy for even the most shocked viewer. This movie is one of my favorites because of how Douglas reacts to the many stupid laws and regulations of society, some of which I agree, and if you're fed up with how places and people are acting these days, you're sure to love this movie too. A damn good time!...more info
Top notch movie...deeper than most pro critics want it to be This is a stunner of a movie. I have seen it many times, but had to buy it for my home library. Michale Douglas, Robert Duvall are always good, but the acting talents of minor characters like the white supremist played by Frederick Forrest is stunningly good! (Forrest you may remember as Blue Duck in Lonesome Dove and also as "Chef" in "apocalypse now").
You find yourself rooting for the "bad guy" (Douglas) not knowing he is the bad guy, he is avenging the everyday evils that face the average city dweller each day: traffic, crazy high prices in stop and rob stores, muggers, beggars who won't leave you alone and obviously don't need the money, poor service in fast food joints/stores, etc etc.
Eventually working his way up the ladder to socio-economis inequalities, private golf courses, overpaid medical professionals etc.
At some point, he realizes "So I'm the bad guy?"
Duvall plays his solid role, he always amazes me in one movie he looks so young and the next so old...either he is great at makeup or just a heck of an actor! Get this movie or rent it...great stuff.
I probably like this movie TOO much (SYNOPTIC REVIEW, LOTS OF SPOILERS)*** After a bad day at work, from time to time I just put this in the DVD player and skip everything except the confrontations between Bill Foster (aka "D-fens"), a man who snaps for reasons revealed to us as the movie progresses, and the people who get on his bad side. Abandoning his car in gridlock traffic, he marches across LA like a video game character, acquiring weapons and unleashing them on troublesome modern stereotypes all along the way. His destination: his daughter's birthday party (without an invite from his ex-wife).
Foster's anachronistic appearance (a nerdy, bespectacled engineer complete with white shirt and pocket protector) match his plight--the once powerful white American working man who can't move into the present and accept the changes that have taken away his power and control of the world around him. Not that he is a racist. He makes that clear during his confrontation with a real one.
Prendergast (the cop who is on the trail of D-fens), his basketcase of a wife, and his fellow cops are a complete annoyance, especially his ex-partner who's constantly trying to get him to jump into the sack with her.
Foster's ex-wife's unsympathetic telephone needling and admission to the police that he never actually hit her lead one to suspect there are two sides to their story and he has not entirely deserved losing his daughter.
The confrontation scenes are a bit contrived, never allowing anyone to intrude and interrupt or disrupt D-Fens's righteous speeches and violent actions against his antagonists. The scene where he walks away from a carload of dead and dying punks after they've crashed their car trying to do a drive-by on him looks like he's walking off of a set because the girlfriend of one of the punks waits patiently on the curb until D-fens leaves before rushing up to the car hysterically.
The one person Foster encounters during his sojourn that I liked is the sarcastically sweet waitress at the Whammy Burger. She's the only one behind the counter who doesn't lose her cool when D-fens pulls out the AK-47 or whatever it is because they won't serve him breakfast. He certainly isn't the average jerky customer, and she's going to enjoy the moment, especially watching her idiot boss squirm as he is forced to deal with the situation. She seems fascinated with D-fens, almost like she'd run away and join him on his rampage if he asked her to.
D-fens' only purely heroic act of the day is bashing in the face of the jerk yelling at the woman for cutting him off in the gridlocked traffic. He probably killed him. That's one I have to watch over and over again. So's the scene where he cuts the phone booth to ribbons with the machine gun because the impatient jerk behind him mouths off at him for taking too long to finish using it. Yes, I get a load of vicarious thrills out of watching this film, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
The darkly hilarious scene where D-fens makes an old fart at the golf course regret not letting him walk through the fairway makes this my favorite golf movie. I would gladly watch a four hour version of this film if D-fens spent all the additional time wreaking havoc and spreading panic all over the golf course, slipping a 4-iron and a pitching wedge into his bag of weapons, and climbing back over the fence, leaving the course to its onslaught of police helicopters, SWAT teams, ambulances and fire trucks.
Having far passed the point of no return by the end of the film, D-fens realizes he has lost the game and makes his most sensible decision of the day.
I would love to have seen a series of these movies. "Falling Down 2," etc. Just imagine how much fun D-fens could have while paying a Middle Eastern convenience store clerk $3.00 a gallon to (in his mind at least) subsidize terrorism, or shaking down a roofing crew for green cards and work visas.
Unique and Memorable! Yeah, yeah... I know, the film is loaded with stereotypes and hokey moments. Especially that scene where Duval sings to his nutty wife over the phone... Ick.
Yet, lets get beyond that stuff. Is this film all superficial? No substance? HARDLY!!
Number one... it is "unique." Oh sure, the retiring cop afraid of being killed on his last day is cliche, but it's not the main thrust of the movie.
Number two... stereotypes DO have a basis in reality. It isn't over reaching to imagine the gang members, the convinience store owner unwilling to break a dollar, the fast food joint insisting on "lunch menu" only one minute after the change over, the neo Nazi militant, the snobbish country club coots, etc, etc.
Number three... Douglas has flipped his wig. He's really not responsible for his actions, as he does everything most of us have secretly fantasized about. It's not really a "celebration" of violence, but it seems absurdly FUNNY as he acts out his retributions. He is obsessed with his ex-wife and daughter... he can't accept their loss. His mind is falling down...
Number four... The main thrust of the movie is a societal commentary. Everyone is after the "crazy man" with a white shirt and gym bag... but when put in perspective, the wandering psycho isn't as "sick" as what is ACCEPTED in modern day LA. Gangs, drive-by shootings, rude store and food service workers, closet nazis, people who are "not economically viable," loud mouthed jerks in traffic jams, country club snobs who can't even tolerate a person "passing through," and on and on.
This point is drummed home perfectly when Douglas says to his wife "I'm sick? Take a walk through this town... THAT'S SICK." Every weapon Douglas carries is "taken" off somebody else... he just absorbs the sickness that's around him.
SPOILER ALERT>>> in the end, Douglas realizes he's ruined whatever chance he had for a normal life. He willing sarifices himself, so his estranged daughter could benefit. Douglas meets his end, and we weep for the "bad guy."
Meanwhile, our sick society goes on being sick...
This is a truly memorable movie, with a few cliche' moments.
Jeff Messenger, author of the novel "The Shroud of Torrington."...more info
Geek pusshed too far sad movie about an abusive father that decides he should abuse the whole world for his failings..
Misinterpreted and unjustly trashed as racist Ok after reading a few of these reviews I cannot resist the urge to get the point accross that ninety percent of you reviewers must be the types of people that fall into the crowd of politically correct nerds that cannot accept that total equality is a fallacy. For the most part, your interpretations of this movie are misconstrued by your own biases and the main point of the movie, that the average white working male (yes I said average white) is a thing of the past. The movie is, more or less, geared towards a changing society and delivers a powerful message that good and hardworking men... the kind that keep their mouths shut and just do their jobs respectfully... are no longer guaranteed success in life (as the old motto would have us believe that hard working men and women will ultimately get what they deserve). In all, this is a great movie. I wanted to stand up and cheer for Micheal Douglas's character throughout the movie....more info
a chillingly powerful film that seems to often be misunderstood Joel Schumacher's 1992 movie "Falling Down" is a chillingly powerful film that seems to get often misinterpreted. Don't get the wrong idea, there definitely IS substance to this movie--it's not just some kind of freak show.
Michael Douglas, in a spellbinding performance, plays William Foster, a man who totally collapses emotionally while stuck in traffic one morning. He ditches his car, leaving it right in the middle of the roadway, and begins an on-foot trek 'home' through the streets of Los Angeles. What follows is a day of extremely tempermental and violent behavior from Foster, lashing out against a Korean shop owner who 'won't make change', Latino gang members who accuse him of invading their territory, a fast food restaurant that's 'stopped serving breakfast', and a neo-Nazi gun shop owner who already has some frightening issues of his own.
With its story of a white man 'fighting back' against urban decay, "Falling Down" is similar to the 1970 film "Joe" (starring Peter Boyle). A deeper peek though reveals "Falling Down" to be kind of a cross between "Five Easy Pieces" and "Taxi Driver", both masterpieces in their own right--William Foster's wildly erratic and tempermental behavior strongly brings to mind the former's Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson), while the good-guy-turned-violent reactionary element of Foster isn't too far off from the latter's Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro).
Michael Douglas is clearly the perfect actor for the role of William Foster. Douglas' terrific knacks for subtlety and dry humor are key ingredients to making his character, despite all of his fits of violence, frighteningly sympathetic. It never appears that Foster derives any amount of pleasure or satisfaction from his violent reactions--it's as if he thinks he is merely 'bringing justice' to the inadequacies of everyday life.
We learn that Foster's ultimate destination is to return to his ex-wife's home for his daughter's birthday. We learn from the ex-wife (played by Barbara Hershey) that she has a court order against him from seeing her or the daughter. She admits that he never actually resorted to violence against her on the daughter, but that she "thinks he could".
Robert Duvall plays Prendergast, an about-to-retire cop. Despite the fact that it's originally intended to be Prendergast's last day on the job, he becomes immersed in the trail being left by Foster. The two finally encounter each other in the movie's powerful 'big climax'--by this time, Foster has definitely reached the point of insanity, or as he says in his own words a bit earlier on in the film, "past the point of no return".
Michael Douglas makes it seems as though this kind of devastating emotional collapse could easily happen to just about any 'average Joe', and that's where a great deal of the film's power lies. "Falling Down" is a thought-provoking movie that really stays with you....more info
Joel Schumacher's and Michael Douglas' BEST FILM! Finally, a special edition of one of the few really innovative film to come out of a studio in the 90's! I didn't know about this film's existance until it hit cable in 1993, and I must've watched it over a dozen times back then. I'm very pleased to have a remastered special edition DVD, even if the special features are a bit sparse for my tastes.
Firstly, this is truly the most interesting character Michael Douglas has ever played. This performance is the acting version of surgery. It's so percise and delicate, that one wrong decision and the whole thing, the character, the story, the film's tone completely falls apart. Douglas plays Ben Foster, though throughout the majority of the film he is simply known as D-FENS(the letters on his personalized license plate). D-FENS is a recently laid off defense worker, end of the cold war hung a lot of the men in this profession out to dry(according to the DVD's loaded commentary track) and he just snaps one day in traffic. He decides he is going to see his ex-wife and child and he walks across L.A. to get to them. He walks around parts of L.A. rarely seen on film. Parts of the city that make up the majority of it, but are glossed or glorified in past films. On his way 'home' D-FENS runs into common annoyances that are part-and-parcel when existing in a crowded area like a city: gang members, angry Korean store owners, surly fast food clerks, and a red neck running an Army/Navy store. Oh, and he does something I know I've always dreamed about to a construction site. This film is rife with blackly humorous satirical jabs and outrage against what America has ultimately become what certain people like D-FENS feel about a changing society that is happy to leave them behind.
An audience member fed on a healthy diet of recent films coming to this movie cold will be shocked about the un-P.C. nature of the story. Filmed in 1992, I guess moviegoers were a lot less sensitive and could think more for themselves. This film would never get made today by a studio, NEVER. Douglas doesn't make excuses for his character's behavior in the film. There's no cheesy or false moments of realizations. He starts on a dark path and goes all the way through to the end without common movie conventions hindering the tone or reality of the story. That's why his performance is so brilliant. He plays a narrow minded dinosaur of a man, who acts out the worst possible aspects of a repressed outrage, but he manages to get some sympathy, and even some slight semblance of understanding from the audience. He acts out certain blue collar fantasies. He shows how awful they really are when being applied to reality, but never sugar coats it. He seems real in an unreal situation. The only contrived thing about the film is the aspect of how the Douglas character manages to make it across L.A. unnoticed and without being caught within what amounts to an 8 or 10 hour day.
Robert Duvall plays that age-old cinema convention of the about-to-retire cop who has elected to ride a desk job for the latter part of his career. The weird thing is,this film makes the cop convention seem fresh, in no small degree due to Duvall's very real and welcoming performance. It just proves that just because it's a cliche' doesn't mean it can't be original or entertaining. He has the same blue collar life as D-FENS but he chooses a different path. The movie alludes that his obsession with apprehending D-FENS comes from how much he relates to his plight. In the film's climax you can sense in Duvall's performance the he doesn't want the situation to end badly. It's a more subtle performance, but it's just as brilliant as Douglas'.
The DVD itself only has two special features, a commentary track and a new interview with Michael Douglas. I was bummed that there wasn't a retrospective doc concerning the film, but that was until I listend to the commentary track. The track has comments from director Joel Schumacher, the producers, Douglas, screenwriter Ebbe Roe Smith, and even Vonde Curtis Hall(who has about a minute of screen time in the film as the 'Not Economically Viable' protester outside a bank). This extra mile is why this commentary track goes above and beyond the usual and negates the necessity of a retrospective doc. The interview with Michael Douglas is really interesting. He gives details on how at the Falling Down point in his career he was in a slump, tired of playing reactive characters in such films as Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. He also thinks back to the period and the changes the country was going through politically and socially. One of the main reasons this film even ended up studio produced was becaus Douglas(also a producer on the film) lobbied for it and its screenplay so hard. Not something many actors would do. A very interesting detail is in regard to how up until that point in his career he picked film projects more based on his producer's hat then his actor hat. He went for what would make the best movie and not necessarily the best character for him to play. Douglas is also on the commentary track and he doesn't repeat any of the info contained in the interview.
Joel Schumacher is a very interesting director. He has worked in almost every genre and succeded at most of them. Most may know and love him from his film The Lost Boys and others may know and hate him from Batman Forever And Batman and Robin. Please, fanboys, get over it. Batman and Robin happened over ten years ago. He's made many fine films since then(Tigerland, Phone Booth, Veronica Guerrin, Phantom of the Opera). The new Batman franchise is awesome, you got your Batman back to make love to, so please get off the guy's nuts already. If you actually think Batman And Robin is the worst film ever made then you don't watch many films, at least ones of substance. Schumacher has always been a filmmaker who directs in darkness(which is strange that they picked him to 'lighten up' the original Batman franchise) and that's why he was perfect for this film. He lets the narrative and satire play out without haveing scenes or characters come out to let the idiot audience know that 'this was bad' or 'you shouldn't do that'. He leaves the judgements to the audience. He also leaves the joys of D-FENS acting out. Of course, D-FENS enjoyment is cut short in the grand scheme of things.
After rewatching this film recently I was shocked at how much more relevant the subject matter is today. The film is about a man left behind in a changing country. He refuses to catch up and instead chooses to act out. Here we are in 2009, after the Obama election, and we still have some old white dinosaurs refusing to listen to the majority of the American public and continue to spout the same old-world/1950's empy rhetoric. It wouldn't surprise me if either Dick Cheney or Rush Limbaugh pulled a D-FENS on the freeway somewhere any day.
See this movie and listen to the commentary track immediately. A great film about choices made, good or bad....more info
White man as the victim I watched Falling Down once on USA Network and love the whole concept where the white male is the victim in the movie. Rarely does Hollywood portray the white male star as the antagonist of society. Throughout the movie, he is attacked by three sociological factors: government (laid off from the defense department), family (wife divorced him 'cause of his aggressive and dominant behavior) and culture (confronting various ethnic groups in downtown Los Angeles). These events leads to a chain reaction which causes D-Fens downward fall in society, even though he claims that he is doing the right thing.
Michael Douglas did an exceptional job portraying the monster in every white-collar worker in this country. I'd suggest if you have a really bad day at work, watch this movie for anger management (or any Adam Sandler movie will do).
And yeah, thanks for the DVD advice. I'll consider purchasing it after the holidays....more info