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Falling Is Near-Brilliant In Every Frame

Falling Is Near-Brilliant In Every Frame
Written by Subhash K . Jha

Falling(Video On Demand)

·       Starring  Viggo Mortensen,Lance Henriksen

·       Directed by  Viggo Mortensen

Rating *** ½ 

 If I have to choose  one grossly underrated actor in Hollywood it would have to be  ViggoMortensen. His  body of work , from  The Lord Of  The Rings and A History Of Violence to  Eastern Promises and Green  Book, shows Viggo is a startling unpredictable  actor with a soprano’s range .Indeed his skills are  as fascinating as  they are strange.

 He now makes his directorial  debut with a  brilliant study  of prejudice and homophobia in the present  times  intercut with bouts of  tenderness and  heartbreak  from the past , bringing the past and the present together  in a deeply felt embrace of humanism and  forgiving. 

Interestingly the ramrod-straight  Viggo has cast himself as John a gay man who lives  with his husband Eric (Terry Chan) in California with their little daughter .Paradise is lost when John’s  aged  father Willis(Lance Henriksen)   is brought to stay with  John and Eric. Their harmonius  life is torn asunder  by  the  old man’s  insufferable  intolerance  prejudice  and  malice.

 Willis is  quite  simply the most unfatherly  father  we’ve seen in  an American film. His snide comments and his  unmistakable contempt for his  kind gentle  son is  so offensive that I often found myself asking, would any son bring this monster-father home?Once  you get  across this hurdle of  understanding John’s overbearing goodness  , Falling is  an immensely satisfying film with scenes  and dialogues that you won’t forget in a hurry. 

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The film has two extra-lengthy conversations , one in the kitchen between  the  ferociously  venomous father and  the  incredibly son, and later an ugly family get-together where  Willis,  fully in character ,  repeatedly insults his  tearful daughter(Laura Linney,making the best of her  thankless cameo) and  his two teenaged grandchildren.

 Finally the grandson calls  the old man an asshole. Something we all want to do at some point while staring at this  foul mouthed …err….asshole. Except that this patriarch  is  no  uni-dimensional  bully. The  bond that Willis forms with his  little  grand daughter and  in  the past, his stormy  kabhi-cushy-kabhi-grump relationship with his lovely wife(Hannah Gross) show that Willis is not a completely  lost case.  

Only  an actor as wizened and  experienced as  Lance Henriksen could have  pulled off this poisonous  patriarch’s performance without making hims look  like a snarling villain. ViggoMortensen steps back as an actor to let  Henriksen  take centrestage. It’s a grand gesture that only a character  as generous and  giving as  John could make.

Falling is brilliantly directed. For a  first timer  Viggo  Mortensen never falters even when the characters  fumble for  the right words to describe overpowering emotions, the  tone  mood and tenor  are pitch-perfect.This is a master director at work. So just  sit back and watch in wonderment admiration and gratitude.

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