May 032012

“Often vulgar and exploitative . . . a dangerous and morally stupid movie.”
–Richard Schickel, Time magazine, March 1, 1993

“ . . . explosive drama with whiplash intensity . . . D-FENS is no vigilante hero in the Charles Bronson tradition.  He’s a man losing his moral balance, and he is not alone . . . The timely, gripping Falling Down puts a human face on a cold statistic and then dares us to look away.”
–Peter Travers, Rolling Stone magazine, March 4, 1993

“darkly comic . . . the first half keeps you off balance with its discomforting mixture of humor and violence.”
–Lisa Henricksson, GQ magazine, March 1993

“Tough, honest, uncompromising, putrid . . . A transparently racist attempt to create a fantasy world in which goofy White people get to beat the shit out of muscular ethnics.”
–Joe Queenan, Movieline magazine, September 1994

“A brutally manipulative revenge fantasy, a piece of comic-strip demagoguery that teeters uneasily on the brink of satire…. This is a movie that thinks it’s scoring points by turning everyone into jerks and then saying we live in a jerky world. Falling Down is too cartoonish and blunt-witted to take seriously, yet there’s a disturbing fascist element at its core… Falling Down seems to have taken its tone from the glib, rabble-rousing self-righteousness of talk radio. Instead of a coherent point of view, it offers gripes…. Demagogic shallowness has its appeal, and Falling Down could turn out to be the Network of the 1990s.
–Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 1993

“A slick, deeply confused exploitation movie . . . (director) Schumacher veers recklessly between social satire, kick-ass fantasy, and damsel-in-distress melodrama, playing the game for opportunistic cheap thrills . . . It would be easy to dismiss this as a simply dumb junk movie . . . but its pretensions render it pernicious.”
–David Ansen, Newsweek magazine, March 1, 1993

“  . . . proponents of political correctness will be appalled by the message implicit in this film.  Viewers with a modicum of common sense will love it.”
–Arnott Weber, Alberta Report magazine, September 6, 1993

“ . . . finally, at the end, it doesn’t click—not because the ending is prettified—it isn’t—but because on the way to the ending, it exaggerates . . . and because the mechanics of the screenplay don’t help Douglas’s credibility and neither does his thin talent.”
–Stan Kaufman, New Republic magazine, March 22, 1993

“2-1/2 stars:  Dead-on portrait of a disenfranchised, modern-day American who goes off the deep end and turns into a gun-blazing powderkeg swearing revenge on “the system.”  It’s vivid, it’s credible, it’s extremely well acted . . . but what exactly is the point?”
–Leonard Maltin, 1997 Movie Guide

Falling Down turns one man’s slide toward madness into a wickedly mischievous, entertaining suspense thriller…. a movie that couldn’t possibly have been made anywhere else in the world today. It exemplifies a quintessentially American kind of pop movie making that, with skill and wit, sends up stereotypical attitudes while also exploiting them with insidious effect. Falling Down is not meant to be seen as the anatomy of a madman, but as a spectacle of civil despair in which some people give in to galvanizing self-pity and others cope as best they can.”
–Vincent Canby, New York Times, February 26, 1993

“3 stars:  Falling Down does a good job of representing a real feeling in our society today.  It would be a shame if it is seen only on a superficial level.”
–Roger Ebert, 1996 Movie Guide

“This at first comes across like a mean-spirited black comedy and then snowballs into a reasonably powerful portrait of social alienation. The tone is unremittingly dour, however.”
–Variety, December 31, 1992

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