Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: John Turturro, James Remar
Genres: Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
When his wife is killed in a seemingly random incident, Harry, prompted by mysterious visions, journeys to discover the true circumstances surrounding her murder
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Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA
Reviewed on 3/17/2012...
Fear X is a film about a security guard (played by John Turturro) whose wife has been murdered during a shooting at the mall he works at. Turturro cannot get past the tragedy of the death of his pregnant wife and takes to spending all of his free time watching security tapes of the mall trying to find someone who might stand out as suspicious. When the police show him a picture of the shooter and he sees the actual tape of the murder, it just stokes his curiosity...Was something deeper at work here? Well, not really. Or if so, who can tell?
The premise sounds interesting, and the first quarter of the movie shows promise. But once our hero starts his investigation, it hits a plodding pace and goes nowhere. I have seen other critics that compare this to a David Lynch film, but I don't want to give it that much credit. Even Eraserhead, as strange as it is, had a better flow than this. Just because a movie is filmed avante-garde style, doesn't make it a classic. This just went nowhere. If I were to compare it to anything else, I would say the first twenty or thirty minutes of the film were very Hitchcockian (in a fairly good way) and then it turns into a M. Night Shyamalan movie. It plods along with ambient music and prepares for the inevitable "twist" ending. Sadly, you can see this starting and get the same anticipation of the "twist" that ruins most of Shyamalan's films. If I WERE going to compare this to a Lynch film, it would be Inland Empire...and that is definently NOT a compliment.
Fear X is Excellent Amibent-Noir Filmaking
Gavin B. | St. Louis MO | 05/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn, third film "Fear X" may baffle or frustrate his viewers with his non-linear plot line and it's leisurely pacing. Indeed Refn falls short on adhering to the protocols of commercial filmaking, but he is aiming, almost entirely, for effect, rather than aiming for commerce, in "Fear X."
In this case, "Fear X" was written by renowned novelist Hurbert Selby Jr. Selby's script has minimal dialogue and it's left to John Turturro's considerable acting skills to convey the obsessive quest of a mall security guard to find out the truth behind the seemingly random shooting of his wife.
You are never completely certain, if the action on the screen is actually unfolding, or whether it's all happening in the mind of Harry Cain, Turturro's character. He frequently sees the mute ghost of his murdered wife, leading him to a sinister looking vacant house directly across the street from his own house. He eventually breaks into the house and finds a strip of photo negatives, which he believes to be the smoking gun left by his wife's murderer.
It's clear that Harry Cain is obsessed, but we wonder if he's being good detective, or if he's a delusional madman whose paranoia leads him on a groundless quixotic investigation. Cain's co-workers are concerned about his erratic behavior in the wake of his wife's death.
Perhaps the entire film is a surreal parable about moving from the first "denial stage" to fifth and final "acceptance stage" in the 5 Stages of Grief upon losing a loved one. Harry Cain exhibits all the five ritualized stages of grief and by the end of the film it's clear that he has accepted his wife's death and is ready to move on with his life.
Rafn's filmmaking style may appear to be slow moving, but for those who appreciate camera and soundstage techniques the leisurely, unhurried pace of the film allows the viewer to take in Larry Smith's magnificent wide angle camera shoots and the use of a blood red tinted camera lens on some of the interior shots.
The drama is enhanced by Brian Eno's ominous ambient soundtrack score. Indeed the entire film is an excellent workshop on how to use lighting, music, camera angles, and set design to ratchet up tension in a film. Those interested in filmmaking will find "Fear X" to be ambient cinema, while those with shorter attention spans will find it boring.
Like,David Lynch, Refn's filmmaking is allegorical, atmospheric and explores the murky regions of the subconscious mind.
Rafn has shown enough talent in "Fear X" to be regarded as part of the future generation of innovative and artistic directors. It's not everyday that a filmmaker with the devious & subversive imagination of a Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, or Terry Gilliam comes along. Each of whom evolved into brilliant filmakers as their career progressed. I struggled between giving 4 stars or 5 stars to "Fear X" in the end it was 5 stars, simply on the potential Refn exhibits in this powerful psychological suspense movie. Like Lynch's "Eraserhead" and the Polish brothers' "Northfork", "Fear X" is destined to become a cult classic among cineastes.
It is not a film for those who cannot tolerate ambiguity, but for those who have a taste for the unusual or quirky, "Fear X" is fascinating."
Understated, slow-paced, and exquisitedly made
bob crane | Baltimore, Maryland United States | 05/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a film for everyone. It is quietly and methodically paced and is actually an interior (psychological) drama. It is absolutely beautiful to look at, shot by cinematographer Larry Smith who was also one of the cinematographers (secondary I believe) on Eyes Wide Shut by Kubrick and it shows. I don't understand why I haven't heard of this film before. Cinephiles should definitely find it fascinating. I bought this used on a whim as a fan of Turturro and watched it with bated breath, wasn't sure at first but came out intrigued. Upon second viewing I think it is a fascinating and exceptional film, feeling more like a Scandinavian film than American. Obvious visual overtures are made to Kubrick's The Shining and the pacing and camerawork are reminiscent of Eyes Wide Shut. If you like contemplative, (dare I say) existential filmmaking and are patient and allow for introspection and participation in watching film, check it out. It's well worth it. This should get more attention by folks who love fine film-making. If you want a traditional thriller/drama look elsewhere, you're not going to find that here. But, if you want exceptional introspective performances, beautiful editing and cinematography and a quietly paced (almost sculpted) drama on death, murder and moral culpability and understanding you'll find this a fascinating piece. Couldn't decide on 4 or 5 stars and gave it only 4 because of the standards the film sets for itself, which are incredibly high. It may, upon a third viewing, be changed to 5 stars."
Sasha | Raleigh, NC USA | 12/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The whirl of uncertainty surrounding Fear X reminded me of Eraserhead, a David Lynch twister. Eraserhead, however, maintained a sense of 'what the heck's going on' while still inserting interesting symbols in a completely odd storyline - absolutely nothing normal. Fear X mixed reality, normalcy and artistic wierdness - a combo that doesn't work as well. I did follow the direction of the film, not the plot, but the unusual unfolding of the mindset of a man desperate for answers. Since there was a plot, leaving the audience unsatisfied was more of a cruel tease than an artistic twist. John Turturro did an excellent job in his role. The external features of the film reflected well the desperation within the main character. I think the film would have actually done much better if not for the moment during which there was an obvious attempt to explain what was happening. If your film is wierd, leave it that way. Explanations simply make the film like half-cooked meat, it's almost there, but not quite what it should be. Fear X was a mix between Eraserhead and The Machinist. It failed to slide into a proper category."