Falling Down

Falling Down Image
Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 333 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A day in the life of a laid-off defense worker, estranged from hiswife and young daughter, and driven beyond frustration in an endless traffic jam. After he abandons his car in the middle of the freeway, he crosses the city on foot, leaving behind him an escalating wake of destruction as hisA day in the life of a laid-off defense worker, estranged from hiswife and young daughter, and driven beyond frustration in an endless traffic jam. After he abandons his car in the middle of the freeway, he crosses the city on foot, leaving behind him an escalating wake of destruction as his sanity crumbles in the face of contemporary urbanreality. (Warner Bros.) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 21
  2. Negative: 4 out of 21
  1. San Francisco Chronicle
    Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    100
    A few times every year, Hollywood makes a mistake, violates formula and actually makes a great picture. Falling Down is one of the great mistakes of 1993, a film too good and too original to win any Oscars but one bound to be remembered in years to come as a true and ironic statement about life in our time. [26 Feb 1993, p.D1]
  2. Reviewed by: Philip Thomas
    80
    While the morality of D-Fens methods are questionable, there's a resonance about his reaction to everyday annoyances, and Michael Douglas' hypnotic performance makes it memorable.
  3. 75
    Schumacher could have exploited those tabloid headlines about solid citizens going berserk. Instead, the timely, gripping Falling Down puts a human face on a cold statistic and then dares us to look away.
  4. 63
    Sure, the viewer who wants to see a tightly-paced thriller with gun-play and emotionally-satisfying moments won't be disappointed, but there is a little more here than simple escapism. Although it takes a number of wrong turns, Falling Down still has the power to disturb.
  5. 50
    Douglas again takes on the symbolic mantle of the Zeitgeist. But in Falling Down, he and Schumacher want to have their cake and eat it too; they want him to be a hero and a villain, and it just won't work.
  6. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Reviewed by: William Arnold
    50
    The film probably should have been a comedy. It would be a lot more cathartic - and a lot more entertaining - to laugh at the grim modern world of Falling Down than it is to have a heavy-handed filmmaker rub our faces in the hopelessness of it all. [26 Feb 1993, p.14]
  7. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    12
    Hopped-up Falling Down is a technically proficient grabber that exploits white-male angst while adeptly juggling two stories filmed in contrasting styles. Slick, maybe facile, and with a nasty streak, it is nonetheless 1993's first consistently engrossing movie. [26 Feb 1993, p.1D]

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. SamiZ.
    Jan 19, 2009
    10
    Great movie that acts out all the things you've always wanted to do (well, almost all!).
  2. IntelligentAndThroughtful
    Jul 19, 2009
    10
    Phenomenal piece of film-making. The only ones who think this movie is over analyzed are the people who don't understand its depth. How Phenomenal piece of film-making. The only ones who think this movie is over analyzed are the people who don't understand its depth. How about all of the reviews by white people starting off saying it's a scape-goating white angst revenge film. Supposing that a white man, unlike a black or hispanic man; would have nothing to be angry about in the first place. Typical BS. The only thing more amazing than this film is the fact that it was allowed to be made in hollywood. Those were the good 'ol days! Collapse
  3. Apr 10, 2013
    10
    What is wrong with the critics? They must be the old guys on the golf course scene! This is a Classic movie! I have have watched it over andWhat is wrong with the critics? They must be the old guys on the golf course scene! This is a Classic movie! I have have watched it over and over and over and over again, this movie never gets old. A whole lot of dark laughs! The character does a lot of things a normal person only wishes they had the guts to do, after putting up with all the crap you face in life.It`s so good I got the DVD today. Expand
  4. Jun 13, 2015
    8
    Okay i'm actually giving this film an 8/10 as it is a really great movie but i'm putting 10/10 on here to compensate for the bewildering lowOkay i'm actually giving this film an 8/10 as it is a really great movie but i'm putting 10/10 on here to compensate for the bewildering low user score. The film is both funny and a thrill ride that can all be consumed with ease for a brilliant watch. Expand
  5. Aug 19, 2010
    7
    Man gets stuck in traffic jam, wants to go home, gets out of car & starts walking, has day from hell.
    One of Michael Douglas's best
    Man gets stuck in traffic jam, wants to go home, gets out of car & starts walking, has day from hell.
    One of Michael Douglas's best performances as the ordinary man turned bad, Bill Foster, in this very watchable Joel Schumacher film.
    Lots of memorable scenes & dialogue backed up with a great supporting cast including a very distrubing Frederic Forest as the army store owner.
    Expand
  6. Apr 4, 2016
    7
    In "Falling Down," crew-cut Michael Douglas is a clockwork citizen, an average Joe with a bar code on the back of his neck. He's theIn "Falling Down," crew-cut Michael Douglas is a clockwork citizen, an average Joe with a bar code on the back of his neck. He's the ain't-gonna-take-itanymore taxpayer in all of us, harassed daily by the system he has bought into. As he fumes through yet another L.A. traffic jam, the frustration factor finally boils over.
    "Where are you going?" an appalled driver asks, as Douglas climbs out of his car. "I'm going home," replies the fired military-defense firm employee, briefcase in hand.

    In director Joel Schumacher's dark comedy, Douglas's simple intention is to make it to his daughter's birthday party. But the route he takes is blocked by gun-toting nutcases, rip-off artists, bigots and the economically disenfranchised. Like Griffin Dunne in "After Hours," he's about to undergo the paranoid epic of his life. Luckily, he's armed with middle-class rage.

    For starters, there's the Korean grocer who charges 85 cents for a soft drink and won't give him change for the phone. A baseball bat helps assuage Douglas's anger. When he's accosted by barrio boys, Douglas's briefcase comes in handy. After another confrontation with the same gang, Douglas emerges triumphant again, this time with their bag of monster weaponry in hand.

    Actually, Douglas's "home" turns out to be fictional, since ex-wife Barbara Hershey has a restraining order against him. But his mind is fixed. In Nietzschean fashion, his beeline there becomes, with each altercation, increasingly psychotic. Now the cops -- including soon-to-retire Robert Duvall -- are in pursuit. Douglas has a deadly run-in with neo-Nazi Frederic Forrest. And, upon reentering the wealthy zone, he decides that a country-club golf course is a waste of beautiful land.

    The movie's sense of direction isn't quite as straightforward. By midpoint, it faces a crisis of options. How serious an indictment of society should it be? Is it a thriller with funny elements, or a comedy that turns increasingly black? Does Douglas get "saved" at the end, or does he go to the nutso-limit?

    First-time screenwriter Ebbe Roe Smith seems to want a bit of everything -- to the movie's eventual detriment. After a while, Douglas's homeward-bound intentions become an abstract endgame, something to bring the movie to a narrative halt.

    Deskbound officer Duvall, who's dreading quiet days in Arizona with neurotic wife Tuesday Weld, uses Douglas's blitzkrieg for his own call to arms. The trouble is, he spends too much of the movie apart from Douglas, always a step or two behind. The chemistry that could have happened between the movie's two heavy-hitting performers isn't allowed to happen until the finale. There's a roughly similar relationship in "Thelma & Louise" between cop Harvey Keitel and fugitives Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Tracking the women across the country by phone, Keitel strikes up an increasingly affecting relationship with them. It seems the same thing is meant to happen in "Falling Down." It doesn't.

    However, Douglas's intentionally robotic -- and intense -- performance holds its own. He's scary, normal and funny all at once, as he goes to town on that grocer's overpriced merchandise, or stands up to the street hoods with almost clock-whirring deliberation.

    "That's a helluva way to treat a vet," says a homeless person after Douglas refuses to help him out.

    "You're an animal doctor?" asks Douglas with genuine surprise. In the middle of this one-dimensional, RoboCitizen rampage, Douglas's endearingly naive question is one of the movie's more beautifully played flickerings of humanity.
    Expand
  7. Stephen
    Apr 22, 2008
    1
    How this film got such a high metacritic score is beyond me. On a superficial level, it's a story of a white male who has seemingly been How this film got such a high metacritic score is beyond me. On a superficial level, it's a story of a white male who has seemingly been driven into violence by a corroding American society. Dig a little deeper and you discover the sub-plot of white angst; a theme that gives justification to the the protagonists misdeeds, using minorities (and their dissolving of American norms and values) as its scapegoat. The director obviously wishes for the viewer to sympathize with his maniacal main character. Unfortunately, unless you believe in Manifest Destiny and the White Man's burden (which I'm afraid a good numbers of Americans do), all you'll see is a shallow movie attempting to make something out of nothing. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews

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