Falling Down movie review

I couldn’t possibly cover the volumes that have been written about this 1993 movie. Twenty years after “Magnum Force” brought back white rage as a popular entertainment, director Joel Schumacher calls out the genre with a villain who gets it wrong in just about every way imaginable. But the trailer is somewhat misleading; like a modern click-bait headline, it poses rage guy William Foster as the hero.

Prendergast is clearly both the good guy and the hero in the film, but he is not the subject. Foster, the archetype of white rage and source of his ex-wife’s terror, is the subject.

He’s not exactly wrong about the absurdity of society, but he’s drawing the wrong personal conclusion from it and making it everyone else’s problem.

The directing, acting, and musical score in the film are all very compelling. It touches on the insularity of the wealthy in a suffering society, the human cost of redlining and other institutional racism, and draws a parallel between rich white guys on the golf course and an actual Nazi.

The viewer’s dissonance is that of everyone who resists the idea of understanding a criminal mind. The film forces us to understand him, then destroys our cultural belief that to understand all is to forgive all.