"The street was mine," P.I. Mike Hammer lamented in Mickey Spillane's One Lonely Night back in 1952, acknowledging a loss of security and identity as The City mutated out-of-control into a messy, violent, overpopulated asphalt jungle. Forty-one years later, the phrase echoed loudly throughout Joel Schumacher's nightmare of urban discontent, Falling Down (1993), which is being rereleased today in both a Deluxe Edition DVD and Blu-Ray. Time has only shown how bold and audacious Schumacher's film was, from its claustrophobic opening highway scene borrowed from Fellini's 8 1/2 to a high-noon showdown on a Venice Beach pier that recalls the hardboiled romanticism of Jean-Pierre Melville. And then there's the matter of its anachronistic central character, a noir protagonist straight out of the 1950s who defies notions of hero and antihero, victim and villain. Out of work, prevented from seeing his daughter on her birthday by a restraining order, and stuck a traffic jam on a sweltering summer morning — Michael Douglas just snaps. Abandoning his car, he crosses Los Angeles on foot, exacting vengeance for all of society's hypocrisy and corruption.
Cullen Gallagher is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and curator whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Life Sentence, Moving Image Source, Bright Lights Film Journal, Beat to a Pulp, NoirCon, Crimefactory, Film Comment, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Fandor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, Spinetingler, Between Lavas, Reverse Shot, and Guitar Review. He records instrumental music as Modern Silent Cinema and plays in the hardcore band Night Squad.