Let me first preface what I am about to say with the fact that I kind of inherited similar interests in the movies that my Dad was interested in when I was a Child, because that was one of the things that we used to do when I would go to visit him. With that said, for me I pretty much trust his judgement for most of the movies around that time period, pretty much no matter what the genre is.
With that said, some years ago when I was getting in to heavy movie collecting mode I came across a little gem at some out of the way shop that my Dad had recommended to me called Falling Down. So with that said, and with such a glowing endorsement coming from him. I set out in search of this rare gem. Now of course it took me a long while to find it, ‘this movie is incredbly hard to find on DVD’.
When I finally did pick it up and I was able to watch it. I gotta say that not only was my Dad right about the film, but I was actually so impressed with it, that it has become one of my favorite thriller movies that I have ever seen!
Written by Ebbe Roe Smith (Turner & Hooch) and Directed by Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys) and starring Michael Douglas (Wall Street), Robert Duvall (MASH), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan) with Rachel Ticotin (Fort Apache the Bronx)
Falling Down tells the story of William Foster (Douglas) a brilliant man with anger issues who has lost just about everything. His ex-wife (Hershey) who hates him and is afraid to let him see their daughter (Played by Joey Hope Singer). Foster looses his job with the defense department and ends up having to move in with his mother. He is just having a real rough time with it!
One day while he is on the freeway during a major traffic jam and sweating in a car that has bad air conditioning, while listening and watching the un moving hustle and bustle of LA life, Foster begins to slowly stop carring and ultimately ends up losing it!
Now at first he starts with just small things, like when he decides to leave his car on the freeway and begins his journey to ultimately re-unit with his daughter.
When he gets to the otherside of the parking lot, he walks over to a local convience store where a Korean man is sitting behind the counter manning the cashiers desk. When Forest walks in to the store, he immediately heads towards the cold case and pulls out a soda and now he is cooling himself off with it. When he is done with this, Forrest walks over to the cashier ready to pay for it.
Now this cashier who speaks in heavily accented English begins to piss Forest off because he can’t understand what the Korean guy is saying. The fight quickly escalates in to a full physical confrontation, when the Korean guy pulls a bat out and the two end up wrestling for the bat and when Foster gets the bat, he finally has enough and snaps. He trashes the Korean guys store and then proceeds on a rampage with bigger and better weapons that would ultimately lead him to do battle with gang members, Neo Nazi’s and other assorted low lifes that are very prevalent on his path toward meeting up with his daughter and ex-wife.
In comes Detective Prendergast (Duvall). Prendergast happens to be on the same road that William ‘D-Fens’ Foster had been on. Prendergast is an older Police detective who due to the loss of his child, has decided to retire from the force and move to Arizona with his wife so that they can get a fresh start.
Now when Prendergast makes it up to where Foster had left his car, he notices that the traffic is not moving so he decides to do something about it, and with the aid of a few people they move Foster’s car out of the way so that traffic can flow again and so that Prendergast can make it to his last day as a police detective…
When he gets to his desk he comes to discover that his top drawer is filled with Cat litter (which he takes in stride.) When he gets to work, he is confronted with none other then the same Korean store owner who had the run-in with Foster!
So Prendergast along with his partner Detective Torrez (Ticotin) head out to the scene of a crime that albeit is small will lead to the two detectives solving the biggest case of their career!
With all this said it is a race against time to see who will win the day… Will William Foster be allowed to tear a bloody swath through the lowliest areas of Los Angeles till he reunites with his family for the ultimate bloody reuioun?
Or will Prendergast and Torrez who are hot on the trail of Foster, catch him before he reaches his wife and child? I will leave that to you dear reader when you watch the movie.
If I haven’t sold you on the movie yet, well let me tell you this. What makes this movie a truly awesome b movie is the following:
1. The main cast! I mean it doesn’t get much better then Robert Duvall who’s talents are legendary. Rachel Ticotin has been great in everything that I have ever seen her in from Total Recall (1990) – Lost (2005 – 2006). Barbara Hershey’s various jobs has made her a fantasitically versatile actress! And so many more!
2. Obviously the gritty story is both an engaging and fascinating look at a man who is slowly going insane in some of the worst areas of LA in the early 1999s!
3. Lastly it truly is a fascinating look at a very interesting time in LA history!
I didn’t know about this till I was doing some research on this movie but the stripper for Prendergast is named “Suzie”. When she starts dancing, someone says “Susie Q”, a reference to the Creedence Clearwater Revival song used in Apocalypse Now (1979), which also featured Robert Duval in it.
With all of this in mind, I highly recommend checking this out, I think you might like it!