Friday, December 19, 2014

Falling Down (1993)

A desperate man gets into violent altercations while trying to get home to his family.

Bill Foster (Michael Douglas) is a smart but disturbed man who is fed up with modern society's greed, callousness, and cruelty.  He abandons his car in a traffic jam on the thruway, walking through a dangerous area of L.A., getting into one altercation after another.  He accumulates an increasingly lethal array of weapons along the way, which he is not shy to use.

On his trail is Detective Prendergast (Robert Duvall), a gentle cop on his last day before taking his clingy wife to Arizona for their retirement.  His gung-ho commanding officer despises him and wants him to go quietly, but Prendergast cannot let it go.

What's really interesting is that we are made to empathize with Douglas' situation, but not the man himself. His complaints are all of ours.  We've been layed off.  We've been refused breakfast at McDonalds at the 10:31 cutoff.  We've all had the bait and switch pulled on us by corporate business. We've dealt with rude, greedy shopkeepers, and bullies.  And we all just want to get home to our family.

But we are not empathetic to the man however. He's violent and gets an empty satisfaction out of giving people their "just desserts".  So you can't root for him. You can't take your eyes off him either.   This is my favorite Michael Douglas role (and his as well).

Quickie Synopsis

bad guy?