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Falling Down (1993), Nazi Surplus Store Scene

by Phil Ethington

Falling Down is a deliberate attempt by the screenwriter and director to create a timely and realistic portrait of Los Angeles and the state of the nation in the year after the Rodney King Uprising (April 1992). Douglas plays the unbalanced and increasingly violent "D-FENS" sympathetically, but his view of the immigrant metropolis is contemptuous. The writing, directing, and acting all point to a real, not merely a stage, sympathy for the plight of crew-cut white-collar relic of the 1960s, with pen holder in his pocket, horn-rim glasses, and drafting tools in his bedroom in his mother's house. He’s a Willie Loman on an Odyssey through the city, in which he encounters monsters that are also common annoyances to all Americans: poor quality fast food served by the forced cheerfulness of their minimum-wage jobs at the boomtown of a service-sector economy run by giant fast-food franchises. Douglas’s character confronts four kinds of enemies: Ethnic others/non-white immigrants; The government, as repesented by Metro Rail transit construction sites that block traffic and his way on foot. All three of these are what his right-wing rage is directed against, but the fourth enemy is special He confronts a Neo-Nazi who thinks that the Douglas character is also a neo-Nazi. But D-Fense corrects him: “No, I’m an American, your’a nut!” The point of this scene seems clearly to keep D-FENS in the sympathy of the audience, and to signal that he is not meant to be a right-wing fascist, even though much of what he does and says looks that way. The climax of the third act is killing the neo-Nazi in the basement of the man's Army Navy Surplus store.

Falling Down "Neo-Nazi Surplus Store" Scene

Falling Down Dir. Joel Schumacher. Warner Bros, 1993. Screenplay by Ebee Roe Smith, Starring Michael Douglas and co-starring Robert Duvall. The story of an unemployed Defense Industry missile engineer at the end of his rope, and a retiring cop.

from Falling Down (1993)
Creator: Joel Schumacher
Distributor: Warner DVD
Posted by Phil Ethington