Contemporary cinema is frequently noted for being a hotbed of liberalism, which of course occasionally veers into overt political correctness, owing to shoehorned “token” characters and what not. However, you needn’t travel far back in time to see how different things have been in the past, with the political spectrum swinging almost entirely the other way, indulging in either spiteful or thoroughly ridiculous racial stereotypes which serve to humiliate the sub-set they are depicting. It’s disturbing how some of them have managed to unfurl themselves in popular, even good films, as you’re about to see. A lot of them, of course, are complete tripe (as you’re also about to see).
10. Falling Down
While there’s little questioning that Falling Down is an excellent film – though perhaps in light of this topic, that says more about us – and arguably Joel Schumacher’s best, that doesn’t acquit it from accusations of racism during several questionable moments. Take one of the opening scenes, as D-Fens (Michael Douglas) leaves a traffic jam on a scorching hot day, and ends up accosting a Korean store owner who a) charges too much for a Coke and, more disconcertingly b) can’t speak fantastic English. While it’s easy to understand the man’s frustration, his violent outburst afterwards not so much, and this is just the beginning; he then battles with Latino gang-bangers – resulting in their gory death – and essentially fights back against anyone who encroaches upon the white, middle-class way of life.
It’s the only notable feature that screenwriter Ebbe Roe Smith has penned – unless you count this bizarre, Dr. Cox-starring cop comedy – and while it is a hoot, the underlying “angry white male” tangent definitely seems a little suspect, even if there might be times we as the viewer – especially if you live in a big city – might be compelled to sympathise with it.
This article was first posted on October 31, 2012