Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Geography and Film: Falling Down

Falling Down is a movie which follows William Foster's attempt to "go home."

*****Movie Review*****
Bill Foster's effort to survive Los Angeles and "go home" are portrayed well in this "tale of urban reality."

*****Geographical Review*****
The early 1990s were rough on Los Angeles. The Rodney King riots occurred and there was an economical downturn which led to large numberings of lay offs. The main character, Williams, was a government defense worker before he lost his job and snapped at the beginning of the film.

The first incident in the film occurs at a convenience store. The convenience store is manned by a Korean who over charges and is "not a people-person." This alludes to the perception of the alleged swamping of convenience-stores by Koreans. This stereotype was so wide-spread that Koreans were targeted in the Rodney King riots for alleged wrongs against the black community.

Next up on Williams' tour of destruction is Angel Heights. This neighborhood is depicted as a barrio full of gang warfare. The people in this area are Hispanics who walk around working-class buildings with Hispano graffiti. In reality the gang problem seems to be becoming worse as groups like MS-13 acquire more weaponry and commit greater acts of targeted violence.

Another vernacular region is the country club area. This section of town has grumpy old white men playing golf. Houses nearby are huge mansions owned by wealthy doctors. The whites have cut themselves away from Los Angeles proper with gated communities and member only activities. Gated communities were and still are on the rise of the wealthy who can afford to live in them. The perception of those who live in them as being snobby and isolationist has also grown with the trend.

The final region is the pier nearby William's "home." The ocean is scene as the end point and place for salvation.

The movie does a good job of giving each neighborhood its own feel. It also is a good survey introduction to the make-up of Los Angeles and the people which combine to form its society.

Category: Geography in Movies

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