Losing It All in L.A.

TITLE: FALLING DOWN

DIRECTOR: JOEL SCHUMACHER

WRITER: EBBE ROE SMITH

THE BOTTOM LINE: An unlikely Tarzan of the urban jungle feeds on, and feeds, our worst fears about city life.

It's hard to know how to respond to Falling Down: deplore its crudeness or admire its shrewdness. But it is occasionally the movies' job to plunge into the national psyche, root around in its chaotic darkness and return to the surface with some arresting fantasy that helps bring our uglier imaginings into focus. In that sense, this often vulgar and exploitative movie has some value.

It begins in a place we've...

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