In Hollywood, everything is done, you will admit, and only sometimes a quality achievement is found with an emphasis on a quality story that deviates from its recognizable concept, and at the same time operates with excessive pomp, as in the case of Falling Down. This is especially rare in cases where the film is associated with more famous actors, such as those who appear in this film. But we should forget that the director of this film, Joel Schumacher, brought us other interesting titles of intriguing stories, such as the films Flatliners (1990), 8mm (1999), Phone Booth (2003), but also the great failures of Batman Forever. (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997), which we all try to forget or at least forgive, if possible.
The central character, William Foster (Michael Douglas), has recently been divorced and unemployed, and he is also banned from approaching his daughter, which makes him a very indignant man. After the air conditioning in his car breaks down, William bitterly leaves him and walks through Los Angeles to attend his daughter’s birthday party. Everything that William encounters along the way only further increases his frustration, which is already at a critical level, turning him into a very angry and dangerous man. On the way home to his ex-wife Beth (Barbara Hershey) and their daughter Adele, William decides to deal with all the social injustices he encounters along the way, gradually moving to the “other side of the law”, posing an increasing danger to the environment.
After the basic description of the movie Falling Down, at first glance at William, you will probably conclude that this is a person on the verge of madness, which in fact is the case. However, the viewer soon begins to identify with him in some way, attributing some positive traits to his antisocial actions. We cannot call his actions heroic, although certain segments of them are strikingly inspiring, even on the verge of calling them cathartic, forcing us to be more and more on his side in our thoughts. In order to find a balance between our sympathy for William and his negativity, which we would like to alleviate in some way, we could most socially accept him as a victim, because in a way he is. However, the problem is that we could justify many crimes in this way.
It would be said that the most critical thing is that our sympathies for him are based on his actions, which should actually provoke completely opposite feelings. The problem is that we already meet William initially as a person who in some way went on a “journey of no return”, and we have no insight into his past, which would eventually show how he gets into that state, as well as some of his other traits, which we would unconditionally could be called positive. It is this relationship between hero and villain or antihero that is the main topic of many discussions when it comes to this film.
Michael Douglas comes from a famous family of actors, more precisely, we know him as the son of the acting legend Kirk Douglas, and there are really few people who have not heard of him. That’s why it’s important to note that his role in Falling Down is considered one of his best performances of his career, if not the best. This is a completely atypical role in relation to those in which we are used to watching Douglas, and his resourcefulness in it could be a great proof of his acting quality, which many dispute. Robert Duvall, on the other hand, made a standard contribution, with the role of Sergeant Martin Prendergast, which fits perfectly into his acting profile. This is one of those roles that seem to lie to him, which he proved in the attached.
The previously mentioned influence of William’s actions, which can have a potentially cathartic effect on viewers, can act as a kind of catalyst for social discontent. It may seem that stories like Falling Down, which more freely represent social injustice, can actually have the opposite effect. More precisely, expecting the viewer of socio-cultural injustices to increase a kind of rebellious mood, it actually subsides after the subconsciously experienced satisfaction of justice, through William, who in some way implements it.
How true this is, if a film like this wants to produce such an effect at all, we will hardly know. But, regardless of that, we would definitely call this film a great achievement, which we would not want to deny you.