Joel Schumacher made one relevant film that still speaks volumes
‘Falling Down’ was a frightening prefiguring of the dangers of unchecked white American masculinity
Director Joel Schumacher died this week. He was 80 years old and best known for bombastic, glitz and glamour over substance blockbusters such as St Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys. But there was a film that Schumacher made in 1993, shot the year before in Los Angeles just a stone’s throw away from the epicentre of the riots that engulfed the city in flames amid outrage at the whitewashing of the verdict against the members of the LA police department who had savagely beaten truck driver Rodney King.
That film, written by actor and playwright Ebbe Roe Smith, was called Falling Down and, 27 years after its release and in the wake of its director’s death, it provides a fascinating, flawed but still pertinent examination of the fantasy wish-fulfilment of the frustrations of post-Cold-War white masculinity that speaks volumes about where the US finds itself today.