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Falling Down

Year: 1993
Director: Joel Schumacher
Producer: Arnold Kopelson
Writer: Ebbe Roe Smith
Cast: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin
An urban fable, as one of the taglines or advertising slogans said. Also a middle class revenge fantasy that - despite copping some of the bad press usually directed at violent video games - we can all relate to at one time or another in the western world.

It can be anything from losing your job or marriage to being stuck in a traffic jam or a fly bothering you. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, but when it piles up on you all at once, you often feel ready to snap.

An unnamed defence department worker (Douglas) does. He gets out of his car in the middle of a traffic jam on an LA freeway, takes his briefcase containing a pen and an apple, and walks away to commit various firearm misdemeanours against the aspects of society he feels are at fault. Everyone cops it - from Hispanic gangs and shopkeepers who don't speak English to fast food restaurants with overzealous breakfast time policies and roadworks crews disrupting the flow of traffic with no reason to be there but to assure their next yearly budget.

The story then turns into a dichotomy that appears to be letting the rest of us off the hook. As we learn his name is Bill we see he is actually pretty unhinged. After being laid off from his job weeks before, he still drives there every day in devoted and disturbing denial. He's estranged from his wife because of a temper we see him exert around his young daughter via a home movie.

In the end, do we identify with the 'hero', or abhor him for his actions? Is he a lone psycho, or do we all feel a little unhinged and just wish we had to balls to do what he did?

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