Running time:112 minutes
Director:Viggo Mortensen
Release date:19 may 2021

Mulder's Review

For his debut as a director and screenwriter, actor Viggo Mortensen gives us a personal and intimate film in which he has fully invested himself and in which he also plays the lead role. He plays John Peterson, a gay man whose father Willis (Lance Henriksen), a conservative and homophobic man, begins showing symptoms of dementia, forcing him to sell the family farm and move to Los Angeles to live with John and her husband Eric (Terry Chen). His inspired staging allows him to highlight themes that are dear to him such as family, integration into minority society but also communication.

If the title Falling means in free fall, it takes all its meaning through the character of John Peterson's father, Willis, who seems to be coming to the end of his life, who not only lost his independence but also part of his memory. His son's love for losing himself that so marked his childhood seems to have ramifications with the director's own father and he feels through this film a willingness to forgive some of the mistakes of the past. Far from wanting to make an experimental film or a film too Hollywood, Falling shows that Viggo Mortensen wanted to make a deliberately dated and dramatic film in which one feels a certain caution and nostalgia for the past.

By focusing more on the psychological development of these characters, Falling seems too academic and wise to hold our full attention. Without any unnecessary frills, the staging shows how underrated an actor Lance Henriksen is. He proves himself perfect here in the role of a person who has a real hold on his surroundings and whose tortuous past has caused his two previous wives to leave him. His numerous verbal insults and fits of dementia are like knives that are constantly falling down for his son.

It is also no coincidence that director David Cronenberg was cast in one of the important supporting roles. Under his direction, Viggo Mortensen had directed two excellent films, A History of Violence (2005) and A Dangerous Method (2011). Falling thus shows that it is a very personal film for this exceptional actor who will remain in our eyes as Aragorn in the trilogy of the Lord of the Rings. Falling is the image of this gifted actor, simple, perfect and memorable.

Written and Directed by Viggo Mortensen
Produced by Viggo Mortensen, Chris Curling, Daniel Bekerman
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Lance Henriksen, Sverrir Gudnason, Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, Terry Chen, David Cronenberg
Cinematography : Marcel Zyskind
Edited by Ronald Sanders
Production companies : Scythia Films, Zephyr Films, Perceval Pictures, Ingenious Media, Lip Sync Productions, HanWay Films
Distributed by Modern Films
Release date: January 31, 2020 (Sundance), December 4, 2020 (United Kingdom), May 19, 2021 (France)
Running time: 112 minutes

Seen on October 16, 2020 at the Forum des images (Paris)

Mulder's Mark: