Film Reviews 2020

Falling - Sundance 2020 Review

Source: Visually Stunning Movie Podcast

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© HanWay Films/Perceval Pictures.
Premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Falling is Viggo's directorial debut.

Synopsis: When 80-year-old independent farmer Willis travels to Los Angeles for an indefinite stay with son John and his family, two very different worlds collide. Mentally declining Willis is abrasive, caustic, and funny, bringing old wounds from the past and years of mutual mistrust to the surface.

I had heard rumblings around the time of Captain Fantastic that Viggo's acting days were coming to an end, but Green Book and now Falling seems to have put those rumblings to bed, at least for now.

In Falling, Viggo plays John Peterson, whose aging and mentally declining father, Willis (Henriksen), comes to stay with John and his husband, Eric (Chen), in LA so they can look for a smaller home for him, away from the cold, lonely, New York state farm he's spent his entire life on.

But Willis' declining physical and mental status, along with the troubled familial past — including two ex-wives, abuse, and alcoholism — are exacerbated by John's "non-traditional" lifestyle (he's gay!), and Willis has trouble separating what is, clearly, love for his family, with the shifting norms of modern society.

Existing most of his life in a social structure which no longer exists, Willis' mind vacillates between what he remembers as good times long gone, interspersed with the regrets of what might have been, what he let get away, and what he might never be able to regain.

Viggo gives a beautifully understated performance here, letting Henriksen (whom it's nice to see in a really meaty role, again) carry the load and dive into Willis' damaged psyche, giving a riveting performance, which allows the supporting cast to do just that: support a pair of great actors doing what they do.

The ending of Falling is ambiguous enough to allow the audience to decide where Willis ends up, and I'm okay with that. Everyone will bring their own experiences, opinions, biases, and baggage into the theater. What they bring out is up to them.

Last edited: 27 August 2020 04:25:40