Falling Down (1993)

Genres - Drama, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - France , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Joel Schumacher's social commentary features an exceptional performance from Michael Douglas as D-Fens, a man who unravels under the weight of the nerve-wracking oppression of the Establishment. Balancing precariously on the edge of convention, D-Fens' sense of the "American way" is increasingly undermined as one frustration after another materializes during his mission through the urban jungle of Los Angeles. In the course of his plunge into a profound, sociopathic disillusionment, D-Fens strips away society's constructs to reveal internally flawed social and economic mechanisms. The host of caricatures he encounters, from a stingy Korean store owner to uncompromising fast-food employees, turf-conscious gangbangers and a neo-Nazi army-surplus store owner (played with gleeful ickiness by Frederic Forrest), are products of a dehumanizing social and economic system, and are used to symbolize capitalism's darker side. Schumacher does well to pinpoint the flaws of the system, but unfortunately he offers nothing in the way of solutions. Meanwhile, both Douglas and the peerless Robert Duvall nail their respective roles and find their grooves within a well-written script. This street-smart film is as entertaining as it is biting, but ultimately suffers from a denouement not nearly as spectacular as its build-up; what could have been a modern masterpiece is downgraded to exceedingly above-average cinema.