A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.
On the day of his daughter's (Joey Singer) birthday, William "D-Fens" Foster (Michael Douglas) is trying to get to his estranged ex-wife's (Barbara Hershey) house to see his daughter. He has a breakdown and leaves his car in a traffic jam in Los Angeles and decides to walk. Along the way he stops at a convenience store and tries to get some change for a phone call but the owner, Mister Lee (Michael Paul Chan), does not give him change. This destabilizes William who then breaks apart the shop with a baseball bat and goes to an isolated place to drink a coke. Two gangsters (Agustin Rodriguez & Eddie Frias) threaten him and he reacts by hitting them with the bat. D-FENS continues walking and stops at a phone booth. The gangsters hunt him down with their gang and shoot at him but crash their car. William goes nuts and takes their gym bag with weapons proceeding in his journey of rage against injustice. Meanwhile Sergeant Martin Prendergast (Robert Duvall), who is working on his last day ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"Falling Down" is a film that intends to point out the many quirks and oddities of modern urban society. It succeeds in doing so, but one must look carefully. Each situation Bill Foster (Michael Douglas) faces is one that most people can relate to. However, unlike most people he decides to "fight the system" and wage war on the everyday annoyances that we all face. Foster is a People's Champion. To illustrate this, most people who watch this film naturally pull for him and see him as being a hero, mostly out of pure sympathy. However, at the end of the day, Foster is still "the bad guy" for going against the societal grain. Most viewers will find this upsetting or even unfair, considering that he fought back against many criminals and unjust forces.
Where Falling Down fails at times is during the scenes where it attempts to do too many things at once. The bits of humor throughout the film are mostly derived from over-the-top scenes, and at times Foster's actions seem cheesy and unrealistic. The fact that the film is two stories in one (Foster and Prendergast) provides a good contrast because the viewer gets to see both sides of the story. On one hand, we see an ordinary family man going bezerk (but in a way most of us can understand) and on the other hand we see a cop who believes Foster is a complete psychopath. Only the audience knows the truth. The film could have done without some of the lame subplots such as Duvall's marriage, even though those scenes illustrate his perception of being "weak" or "whipped". The film sets out to do a lot at once, which is quite necessary to create a thorough storyline, but at times doesn't come out right on film.
One scene that I have always found moving and powerful is the scene where Bill Foster sees the man who is "Not Economically Viable" protesting outside of the bank that denied him a loan. As everyone on the busy street goes about their business and ignores this man, Foster (and the viewer) are focused directly on him. Foster obviously sympathizes with this poor, hardworking man who is also being stepped on by society. As the man is escorted away in the police car he looks directly at Foster and says "don't forget me". In a gesture of sympathy and appreciation, he nods to him. The two characters share a connection. It is especially important to notice the symbolism of this scene. Both men are wearing the exact same outfits: a white short-sleeved dress shirt, black tie and black pants. They are on the opposite sides of the street. When they look at each other, even though they are white and black, it is as though they are looking into a mirror and seeing the same thing: a victim of society.
Overall, a slightly sad story that tries to do a whole lot, succeeds in most of it and provides lots of entertainment. A good storyline and an excellent observation of modern society.
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