It can be difficult for people to accept change. In the movie Falling Down, directed by Joel Schumacher, William Foster, an unemployed, divorced, middle aged man, struggles to accept how society has changed for the worse. In this movie, Foster’s objective is to get home to see his daughter on her birthday. On his way, he encounters many situations in which he notices a significant lack of social capital. Simultaneously, Martin Predergast, a police sergeant, is attempting to find Foster on his last day of work to prevent further problems. As Foster becomes increasingly overwhelmed, he takes his anger out in violent ways, which leads him to make a desperate life decision. In this movie, Schumacher is demonstrating the idea, through the character of Foster, that society is highly flawed and damaged. Foster is noticeably a fish out of water within society because he believes in the importance of social capital, which implies that the rest of society doesn’t. Schumacher also expresses the idea, through a young boy, that society’s future doesn’t seem tolerable. The young boy knows more about the use of guns than Foster, and this implies the future for society won’t be promising because guns are viewed negatively.
A code and convention that expresses both ideas is symbolism. In the movie, after climbing a fence and trespassing into a doctor’s backyard, Foster’s glasses crack. Despite realizing they’re cracked, he continues to wear them. Foster wearing the cracked glasses symbolizes his new perception of society. He’s looking at the world through broken glasses which shows that he finally sees society as what it really is, damaged and deeply flawed. In addition, at the beginning of the movie, as Foster is stuck in traffic and observing his surroundings, he notices an immense American flag hanging from a school bus filled with screaming and disrespectful kids. This image symbolizes society’s future through the idea of children above the flag. It expresses that the future of America holds an ill-mannered society.
Another code and convention that expresses the idea that society is highly flawed and damaged is diction. Throughout the movie, most of the people that Foster interacts with use vulgar language and are extremely rude. When Foster is resting on a rock, two Latino gangbangers violently and rudely tell him to leave. Even when Foster responds politely, their vulgar and disrespectful words prove that they completely lacked social capital.
In the beginning of the movie, I thought that the camera angles and focus started off the movie well because it gave the viewers an accurate example of how Foster was feeling. The focus and zoom begin on his face, to show his mild frustration while stuck in traffic. Then, the camera angle changes to what Foster’s perception was of everyone around him. The zoom on every different driver changes quickly to show his quick annoyance by his presence. Finally, the camera angle switches back to Foster’s face, which truly expresses irritation and frustration. Although it had an enticing start, I didn’t enjoy the movie because found that…