Did you ever see the movie Falling Down? The ending made me so angry. Movie spoiler coming: It was pitched as a story about how this ordinary man just loses it in the face of everyday absurdities and indignities. But the film makers lost the courage of their convictions and made it clear at the end that he was far from an ordinary man. The ordinary man in an extraordinary situation worked for Hitchcock. More people should take note.

Theroux’s protagonist, Allie Fox, is far from an ordinary man. While I may have some sympathy for his complaints, the relentless nature of them makes him impossible to like or even respect, even from a distance. And his wife loyalty makes little sense.

Once Fox moves the family to a remote village in Honduras, predictability and unsubtle symbolism ensues. Theroux creates an amazing landscape, and Charlie, our narrator (and Allie’s oldest son), is genuine and interesting. The rest of the story just isn’t.

I watched the movie long ago. Perhaps Harrison Ford, River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton hung over me as I watched. I’m curious to watch it again, but not right away.

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