Review: ‘Falling Down’

This at first comes across like a mean-spirited black comedy and then snowballs into a reasonably powerful portrait of social alienation. The tone is unremittingly dour, however.

This at first comes across like a mean-spirited black comedy and then snowballs into a reasonably powerful portrait of social alienation. The tone is unremittingly dour, however.

Seeking to journey ‘home’ to Venice from downtown Los Angeles, Michael Douglas abandons his car in bumper-to-bumper morning traffic and sets off on foot, venting his anger and frustration at all those he encounters.

A laid-off defense worker, estranged from his wife and child, with a borderline propensity for violence, he is a self-obsessed human powderkeg heading to a home no longer his while on the verge of going off.

The film provides Douglas with a real performer’s showcase, and he delivers a strong, intense portrayal of a walking time bomb. Robert Duvall, as well, is at his congenial best as a henpecked burglary cop in his last day on the job.

The most notable supporting players are Rachel Ticotin as Duvall’s former partner and Tuesday Weld in a remarkably unflattering turn as his skittish wife. Barbara Hershey is largely wasted as the protagonist’s ex.

Falling Down

Production

Warner. Director Joel Schumacher; Producer Arnold Kopelson, Herschel Weingrod, Timothy Harris; Screenplay Ebbe Roe Smith; Camera Andrzej Bartkowiak; Editor Paul Hirsch; Music James Newton Howard; Art Director Barbara Ling

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 115 MIN.

With

Michael Douglas Robert Duvall Barbara Hershey Rachel Ticotin Tuesday Weld Frederic Forrest
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