Underrated: Fallen (1998)

September 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dir: Gregory Hoblit
Cast: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Gabriel Casseus, Donald Sutherland, Embeth Davidtz, James Gandolfini, Elias Koteas

This dark, scary alley might not have been the best shortcut

This dark, scary alley might not have been the best shortcut

A late Friday-night showing of Fallen (1998), on BBC 1, reminded me how great this movie was, and still is, yet there are still people out there who have never even heard of it, let alone seen it.

Directed by Gregory Hoblit who had, two years previously, directed the excellent Primal Fear (1996) – which catapulted a great, unknown actor by the name of Edward Norton to stardom and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod – Fallen is a mix of detective thriller/mystery and supernatural.  A stellar cast featuring the always-awesome Denzel Washington as Det. John Hobbes with support from the likes of the late, great James Gandolfini, John Goodman and Donald Sutherland, ensures that a sense of realism is maintained throughout, serving to increase the growing sense of fear and dread.  We are as sceptical as Hobbes is, refusing to believe anything out of the ordinary.  The opening title sequence and a later, very clever ‘pass-the-parcel’ scene both make use of the Rolling Stones’ Time Is On My Side, which I have been a big fan of for years and I now always think of this movie whenever I hear it.  You really care for, and fear for, the main characters – another stand out performance is the brilliant Gabriel Casseus as Hobbes’ brother Art.  Like one of my other underrated films, Constantine (2005), Fallen leaves you begging for a sequel, but the ending is so good that it would be a shame to taint it by taking it any further.

If you haven’t seen it yet, why not?  It’s fifteen years old, but it certainly doesn’t show it (time is on it’s side) and it’s as enjoyable today as it was then.  Definitely amongst my favourites.  I urge you, seek it out.


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