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When a Man Falls

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When a lonely housewife (Emmy winner Sharon Stone) faces the reality of her dying marriage to Gary (Timothy Hutton), she seeks comfort in highly unlawful and forbidden activities. While Gary takes to drinking away his troubles, he doesn't realize that things are falling apart around him— until it's too late. When a Man Falls is a gripping psychological thriller sure to keep you guessing until the end!


Though marketed as a Sharon Stone thriller, this solemn chamber piece revolves around three men. One evening at work, Gary (Timothy Hutton in ever-present baseball cap) runs into night janitor Bill (Dylan Baker in oversized spectacles). Gary and Travis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) used to tease Bill, a classical-music enthusiast, in high school. The encounter spurs Gary to reconnect with Travis, with whom he lost touch after the latter was involved in an automobile accident (for which he blames himself). Together, they drink and commiserate over their lonely lives; meanwhile, Gary's neglected wife, Karen (an uncharacteristically disheveled Stone), takes to sulking and shoplifting. Bill becomes preoccupied with his pretty neighbor, Sadie (Stacie Bono), and her abusive relationship (in his dreams, Bill saves Sadie from her attacker). A senseless tragedy forces these isolated individuals to face their fears once and for all. Originally known as When a Man Falls in the Forest, then When a Man Falls, the follow-up to Ryan Eslinger’s Madness and Genius moves too slowly to generate suspense, while the characters lack sufficient development for their catharsis to have the desired impact. (An absence of personal touches, like portraits and mementos, contributes an air of artifice.) Despite their efforts, this leaves the actors stranded at times, particularly Baker, whose Bill is too bizarre to inspire much sympathy. Of the leads, Vince makes the best impression--would that Eslinger had concentrated more of the story on his character. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Details

  • Actors: Dylan Baker, Stacie Bono, Timothy Hutton, Sharon Stone, Pruitt Taylor Vince
  • Directors: Ryan Eslinger
  • Writers: Ryan Eslinger
  • Producers: Alain de la Mata, Christian Arnold-Beutel, Ira Besserman, John F.S. Laing, Kirk Shaw
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: February 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XT1P5M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,906 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "When a Man Falls" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

2.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 16, 2008
Format: DVD
The original title of this bleak flim - WHEN A MAN FALLS IN THE FOREST - was inexplicably shortened to the nebulous WHEN A MAN FALLS for the release of the DVD: had the original title been retained, the audience may have been given a clue as to the intended message of the story. This is the second film for 26-year old writer/director Ryan Eslinger and it does suggest that he wants to deal with some existential material, but he has a way to grow into how to make it happen.

The lives of three men and a woman are interconnected in the all too common shallow 'relationships' that are a major problem in how our society is working. Bill (Dylan Baker) is a night janitor in a large company, a man who shuts out the boring world with his earphones connected to the great opera classics: he avoids people including those who saunter past him and those whose chaotic lives in the next door apartment distress him. Gary Fields (Timothy Hutton) is a down and out professional man who works in the building that Bill nocturnally keeps tidy, the two 'old high school acquaintances' meeting only because Gary has taken to sleeping in the office. Gary's wife Karen (Sharon Stone, without makeup and looking spent and used) has lost all feeling for living, detests Gary, and finds her only joy is in shoplifting. Gary has shut himself off from old friends for reasons that seem to be related to an accident that involved is best friend Travis (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a man at odds with his own environment. The only apparent connection here is that, once Gary discovers that Bill is a night janitor, Gary and Travis feel guilty that their response to Bill in high school had been one of cruel ridicule.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sam Abbot on January 6, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD is horribly misadvertised as a Psychological Thriller. This was obviously a pathetic ploy by the DVD distributor to get the DVD off the shelves by any means necessary with no thought to doing the consumer, nor the film any justice. The result is that people are watching this film with entirely the wrong mindset.

This film is a dramatic look at the lives and relationships (or lack of relationships) of the four main characters. It is a thought provoking look into what can happen when we allow ourselves to dwell within our personal misery to the point that we can no longer connect to those around us. The acting, writing, cinematography and direction are excellent, and the film is riddled with beautifully captured momments of life to which so many people can relate. If you are looking for a shallow sexy thriller, see Basic Instinct or Sliver. But if you are someone who appreciates the simplistic intracacies of what makes up the soul of a person...this movie is an excellent choice for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Bridges on July 14, 2010
Format: DVD
I loved this movie. I didn't come into it with any particular expectations - I bought it because Timothy Hutton was in it and it was on sale at my local Blockbuster. I didn't pay attention to the blurb, and, thankfully, I didn't read the Amazon reviews. I just popped it in the player and was thoroughly entertained for an hour and a half.

This is a slow, complex, well-acted, occasionally surreal, comedy. If it had been in French with English subtitles, perhaps it would not have been so misunderstood. Of course I do agree that the liner notes on the back really don't do the film any justice, but saying the movie has no plot or has bad acting or isn't psychological enough or whatever, just because the reviewer was expecting a completely different movie due to the badly written advertising, is like saying: "The package said fruit, so I expected an apple because I like apples. What I got instead was a banana, and I hate bananas. This is a horrible excuse for an apple. I'm giving this stupid banana a One Star rating and recommending everyone avoid it."

In the Amazon Editorial Review, Kathleen C. Fennessy refers to "A senseless tragedy". What? Is she meaning the convenience-store scene? Surely not. Anyone who was actually paying attention would know there was nothing senseless or tragic about that! Gary just does what so many of us would wish we were capable of doing, were we to find ourselves in the same situation.

Having now read all these negative reviews I realise I'm going to have to watch this movie again to see if I can figure out just what was so upsetting to those reviewers. I'll be surprised if I can, though.

(Note. I'm giving it the full 5 stars and not deducting anything for the lousy write-up on the packaging because it's the movie itself that I am rating.)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By NoWireHangers on February 11, 2008
Format: DVD
"When a Man Falls" has three central characters. Bill is a shy janitor who works during the nights and only seems to really come alive in his dreams when he's sleeping during the days. Gary has trouble at work and in his relationship and his wife, Karen lives out her frustrations by shoplifting. A fourth character is Gary's old friend from high school, Travis, who still hasn't gotten over a traffic accident seven years ago.

The movie was originally titled "When a Man Falls in the Forest", obviously a reference to the old philosophical riddle, "if a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" As expected with such a title, the focus of the movie is the characters. There's not much of a story. It is sort of like "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her", only with fewer characters. Your enjoyment of the movie will depend on whether you enjoy that type of movies. If you're looking for a movie with a typical plot you may be disappointed. If you like character studies, give it a try. The characters could have been more developed, especially Pruitt Taylor Vince's. And Bill does not feel as much as an original character as someone from a TV movie with William H Macy. But the actors all do a very good job. Sharon Stone was also executive producer.
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