Falling Down (1993)

Falling Down (1993)
  • Time: 113 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Joel Schumacher
  • Cast: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey


A divorced engineer for the defense industry gets stuck in L.A. traffic and finally snaps. He gets out of his car and begins a walk through central L.A., where he encounters various levels of harassment, which he learns to deal with by acquiring weapons along the way. His actions attract the attention of a retiring cop, and he gets involved with the case, following the engineer’s path toward Venice, where his daughter is having a birthday party.


  • “Falling Down” shows excellently what is wrong with modern society. The sarcastic humor, human indifference, corrupt and decaying society we live in is portrayed very well. Not to mention the parallel story of an ordinary police officer, that everyone mocks him out for his passive stance, until he stands up and proves to everyone that they are wrong. This movie is one of the most underated films, and maybe the best performance of Michael Douglas. You can clearly identify with his character. He is simply frustrated and cannot take any more of it. Highly recommended and I’m sure many people agree with me.

  • (Rating: 3 / 5) “Falling Down” is one of the creations of Joel Schumacher. It is one of his more acceptable films, along with other very minimal amount of movies that had the misfortune of being directed by him (Why we say “misfortune”? Because he directed “Batman & Robin”!). Indeed, “Falling Down” has become another object of worship, adding virtues overvalued over the time, but it is a rather uneven film. The film draws a division between two men: first, a policeman nearing retirement that suffers martyrdom of his wife and the loss of a child (hence possibly marital problems, hence perhaps the title “Falling Down” which is a well-known English child song), on the other hand, an unemployed person who also has problems with his family. Two figures with almost similar problems… but both take very different ethical directions

    The idea of all this is a small sample of society as a new urban jungle, with powder of constructions, vague and larvae people, gangs, the paroxysm of bureaucracy, ideological insane, and the new generation pushing the previous generation to retirement. This concepts are so dense that there is no room for Schumacher impregnate his hyper -stylized, embellished imagery that saturated of bizarre taste in his overall filmography… thanks god!. But the climate of “Falling Down” is standard, does not meet any oppressive or messy postulate should be a place, not stifling as it should. Still, that’s not the problem

    If the direction is correct and sedentary for the atmosphere of the film, “Falling Down” shows its limitations in the lack of depth of the main character. There are combined factors: we have a script that decides to offer a reverse order, so protagonist’s problems are revealed after. As this is a discursive film, reflective and with claims of destroy all, the audience does not really know the motivations of the protagonist until a long time, and does not really know if he is an impulsive , an anarchist, a fascist, etc… This is solved with various views, but this nonlinearity hinders development

    Other factor is the performance of Michael Douglas, which is excellent but that’s not exactly a virtue here, at least in the beginning. Douglas makes perfectly the rol of a little crazy bureaucratic enjoying his victory, but there no graduation. Turns out the actor is already so crazy from the beginning, that the audience will not get much doubt that it will break everything from second 1. This defect removes some credibility to the reflections of the protagonist, because: why spend energy on moral discourses, if you’re going to break it all anyway?

    After some more or less obvious flaws: the speeches are good, but nothing we do not know or reveal something transcendental , the end of the film is silly and deflates because its ineptitude (precisely when the movie tries to humanized Douglas, this guy goes to kidnap his family). But despite the disparity, has a memorable sequence of the burger: where the protagonist asks for a breakfast and the burger refuse because ran out of time… for a few minutes on his clock , unleashing the fury . That little comic gag is much deeper (either as a joke or as a critique of bureaucracy McDonalds) than the rest of the film or the same reflections that flies in the fast-food (about misleading advertising). If the movie had not this gag, “Falling Down” would not have so excessive cult value

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *