Falling Down Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 8.5
Audio 7.0
Special Features 7.5
Total 8.0
Distributor: Warner Bros
Running Time: 112 minutes
Classification:
M15+
Reviewer: Joshua Blackman

8.0


Falling Down

Michael Douglas sits in a traffic jam in the sweltering Los Angeles heat. He is tired and sweaty and everything that confronts him - the flashing lights of the roadworks signs, people speaking loudly in neighbouring cars and a buzzing fly hovering around his neck - only increases his anxiety. Eventually it becomes too much and he snaps, grabbing his briefcase, stepping out of his car and walking away - to where, he is not sure, all he knows is that the situation is unmanageable, and he must flee. It's a brilliant scene, and a cracking opening to a tense and provocative film.

Douglas' character, only known as "D-Fens", also his car numberplate, thus begins his film-long journey across LA venting his frustration on all the injustices he perceives around him. Many of them have to do with his uncertainty about race: he confronts a Korean shop store owner about charging too much for a can of Coke, and is not afraid to stand up for himself when he impinges on gangland territory. As his actions grow more violent, he gains the attention of Detective Martin Prendergast (Robert Duvall), and his attractive partner, Detective Sandra Torres (Rachel Ticotin). In one of its few nods to convention, it's Prendergast's last day before retirement and he must deflect the wishes of his wife to engage in one last assignment.

D-Fens is not easily likable but he nonetheless hypnotises us with his rage stemming from anxieties about capitalism, consumerism, multiculturalism and other "isms" that define our western society. He represents the urge in all of us at one time or another, to break from our shackles and be free of the systems that constrain us. Even though capable of great acts of violence, D-Fens has a great love for his daughter currently in the custody of his ex-wife, a relationship which helps make his character somewhat sympathetic. The best thing about D-Fens and Douglas's performance, however, is that there is no glee or catharsis in his actions; his anger is matched only by his sadness.

Made shortly after the end of the cold war and inspired by the layoff of staff following the downsizing of America's defence system, Falling Down was very timely and thankfully the Joel Schumacher who destroyed the Batman franchise is absent. Equally as interested in ideas as in tension, he is able to maintain the suspense even through the unsurprising but necessary conclusion.

The film is presented on this Blu-Ray in full 1080P and is of superb quality. The audio however is inexplicably and inexcusably only in stereo rather than Dolby 5.1 or DTS. The special features include a ten minute retrospective conversation with Douglas about the film, of which he speaks of highly, and a commentary by many of the cast and crew including Douglas, Schumacher and screenwriter Ebbe Roe Smith. Unfortunately the commentary consists of pre-recorded individual snippets, which are informative but less entertaining than a group commentary.

I was not familiar with this film before obtaining this review copy, and it's always a joy when something comes from nowhere and surprises you. Falling Down is a great, intense thriller with a provocative central character and one of Michael Douglas's best performances.

Check it out.






 
 



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