Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fallen (1998)

Fallen is an creepy thriller that features good acting, great writing, and nice cinematography. Denzel Washington plays John Hobbes, a detective who recently captured a serial killer named Edgar Reese. Edgar Reese is put to death for his crimes, but the murders continue in Reese's style. Is there a copycat killer on the loose or is something supernatural at play?
Fallen has a tightly written script, which is especially impressive for a work of speculative fiction. Writer Nicholas Kazan is the son of director Elia Kazan so it looks like the film making gene was passed down. Nicholas Kazan was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay based on material from another medium for Reversal of Fortune. The story of Fallen has good twists and turns which kept things fresh. We have high stakes and insurmountable odds combined with well-written characters to make us care about what is happening. The theme of "evil among us" has been done since the beginning of human history, but the inclusion of the Azazael demon and use of scapegoats put a different spin on it.

Director Gregory Hoblit has made one movie I have seen before, Frequency. I remember liking that film but I saw it so long ago that I don't remember much about it. The directing in Fallen is very good with one of my favorite scenes being a creative "whisper down the lane" chase scene which features fantastic choreography.  The "demon vision" is a unique look that I haven't quite seen before. The Rolling Stones cover of the song "Time Is on My Side" is used multiple times in the movie in an interesting and effective way.
John Goodman is hilarious as Hobbes' fellow detective, Jonesy. Donald Sutherland, Embeth Davidtz, and James Gandolfini also put in solid supporting performances.
I found Fallen to be underrated since it's a movie most people haven't heard of despite being a major Hollywood film with plenty of recognizable actors. If you haven't seen it, check it out sometime.
Fun Facts: Fallen is one of the few movies to feature the Assyrian Neo-Aramaic language.
Fallen was filmed in part at Philadelphia and showcases locations such as 30th Street Station and Pat's King of Steaks.

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