Fallen (1998)


I meant to see this movie about eight frickin’ years ago, and now I finally have. I tried once years ago when it was on TV, but it was already about half over. Last night I was distracted by a ton of online conversations and just gave up. I fell asleep tonight partway through and had to rewind. Jeez. Altogether too much effort.


I did like the film, for certain. The whole thing was well put together, well produced, well acted. The twists and turns of the plot work. The characters are engaging and interesting. The choice of the Stones’ “Time Is on My Side” works as well (even if not everyone is, um, terribly good at singing it).

It’s about a cop who us good at his job and catches a convicted serial killer who is executed at the beginning of the film–something exits him and begines to follow the detective, Hobbes (Denzel Washington) around, taunting him.

Honestly there’s not much I have to say beyond that, except that it has Donald Sutherland, and we all know I’m a sucker for Sutherlands (I wish Donald got a few less asshole roles, though…his son seems to get a much more even mix) and Elias Koteas in a very nice energetic performance–if a short one–that is unlike most he is seen in. And he’s good at it.

For a time, the narration bothered me, because it was so intermittent. But, well, it made sense to me at some point, so that’s not really a complaint now.

What I will complain about is this willy-nilly use in films of “RAR! REVELATION! RAR! APOCALYPSE! RAR! ANGELS! RAR! DEMONS!”
It occasionally works (see The Prophecy, for instance) but most of the time it seems like a really, really cheap attempt to scare people. Of course, it helps nothing that possession and “the coming apocalypse!” almost never scare me. But it’s that much worse when it sounds like lunatics. “I think there are real angels, because stuff happens that can’t be explained.” Uh…huh…
I don’t know. I guess it’s sort of like my distaste for shitty Christian rock bands that write terrible lyrics like “Jesus rocks like Saturday morning cartoons/His love for us fills us like balloons.” I mean…fuck, there are better ways of approaching this. You sound like an idiot. It’s not the beliefs that make you sound like an idiot, it’s that you’re so clichéd and blasé about them that you don’t sound like you could possibly be serious and are more likely attributing hallucinations to religious concepts.

And of course bringing up Revelation–half the time as “Revelations,” for that matter, though Fallen did get it right–is frankly stupid. Nevermind that I accept the preterist interpretation of the book, this crap doesn’t make sense. They just bring it up as if ominously mentioning a book commonly interpretted as symbolic of the end times is enough to scare the shit out of people. Yeah, maybe if they’re incapable of thinking for themselves and don’t bother trying to see how the hell it even makes sense in this context (nothing in this film remotely related to Revelation in any way shape or form). It’s asinine. You can’t just throw these words out there and it’s like “There it is. You know what it means, so you should just accept it–we don’t need to explain.”
It just really irritates me. It’s lazy and crappy writing, dammit. Stop it.
And I say this as someone who tends to like apocalyptic movies–because most of them explain how this is the apocalypse (or was) or they even actually show it sometimes (see: Romero’s Dead films)–or they just give you the atmosphere of end times–or some kind of post apocalypse (Mad Max 2).

Whatever. Just…stop it.


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