Falling marks the directorial debut of celebrated actor Viggo Mortensen, who has been nominated for three Academy Awards and is an accomplished musician in his own right. He teams up with genre icon and Hollywood legend Lance Henriksen to play a father-son duo that is somewhat based on Mortensen’s own upbringing. Though don’t call Falling a biopic. Viggo expertly weaves moments from his childhood into a contemporary tale about dementia that is as equally heartbreaking as it is captivating.
Falling will land in theaters this Friday, February 5, while simultaneously debuting on digital and On Demand for areas that are still affected by movie theater closures across the country. The story is told with a lightening pace and enough dark humor to keep audiences on edgy and completely enthralled until the climactic confrontation between John (Viggo Mortensen) and his father Willis.
Paulington James Christensen III recently visited with both Viggo Mortensen and Lance Henriksen on Zoom to talk about the movie and its intricacies. Viggo is a known horse lover, having acquired horses from both Hidalgo and Lord of the Rings. The pair discuss their mutual admiration for horses, and how that led to the making of Falling. They also discuss the intimated nature of this impactful drama, its choreographed fight scenes between the father and son, and what went into building the Falling soundtrack. Both Viggo and Lance have some fun stories to tell from behind the scenes.
In Falling, John (Viggo Mortensen) lives with his partner, Eric (Terry Chen), and their daughter, M&ónica (Gabby Velis), in California, far from the traditional rural life he left behind years ago. John’s father, Willis (Lance Henriksen), a headstrong man from a bygone era, lives alone on the isolated farm where John grew up. Willis is in the early stages of dementia, making running the farm on his own increasingly difficult, so John brings him to stay at his California home so that he and his sister Sarah (Linney) might help him find a place near them to relocate to. Unfortunately, their best intentions ultimately run up against Willis’s adamant refusal to change his way of life in the slightest.
During his stay at John’s California home, tension builds between Willis and the rest of the family. Willis’s abrasive nature, by turns caustic and occasionally funny, is aggravated by his memory loss, bringing past and present into conflict and causing old wounds and years of mutual mistrust between father and son rise to the surface.
As Willis and John confront the events that have torn them, including their differing recollections of John’s mother Gwen (Gross), the challenge they face is to find a way to forgive each other, to accept what has happened in the past and, most importantly, what is happening to them in the present. We embark on a journey from darkness to light, from rage and resentment to acceptance and hard-won grace.
Falling will play selected theaters this Friday, starting February 5th. It will also make its debut On Demand and on digital on that same day.