# Similar Movies Like Fear X
Fear X 2003
Description: When his wife is killed in a seemingly random incident Harry, prompted by mysterious visions, adventures to explore the real circumstances surrounding her murder.
Released: 04 Apr 2003 Director: Nicolas Winding Refn Writers: Nicolas Winding Refn (screenplay by), Hubert Selby Jr. (screenplay by) Actors: John Turturro, Deborah Kara Unger, Stephen Eric McIntyre, William Allen Young Genres: Thriller
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Fear X Reviews:

* * ½ (2½ of 5) Fear X Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn, 2003No fear Nicolas Winding Refn is easy the most interesting Danish director around today. While his tracklisting before Fear X included only two films - the gritty, streetwise and perfectly captured debut Pusher (1996) and the more ambitious and pseudo-melancholic Bleeder (1999) - he'd already worked up a name for himself as the enfant poor of, if not European, then Danish cinema. Refn, like Tarantino (a major influence) and many another mad young directors from the 90s, grew up a film nerd, raised on action b-movies, Hong Kong slambang and drawing inspiration from cult films rather than mainstream (accepted) classics. Yet he also belongs to the elite here (where Tarantino is still CEO) as he has a keen understanding of pure film making, storytelling and creating angles and special approaches in what has turned into some sort of predictable category by itself. Notice how in Pusher the downright rotten hero of Frank (intoxicatingly portrayed by Kim Bodnia) gradually gains our sympathy in his many struggles as the film progresses. And how in Bleeder Refn still keeps you glued despite the raw and sudden turn in happenings (Bodnia in other nice performance) that might have seemed simply uncalled for and repulsive in the script. Fear X is Refns $7 million dollar American (filmed in Canada actually) debut starring John Turturro and the everytime welcome James Remar (remember 48 Hours?). What exactly went wrong here is difficult to pinpoint. See, Refn not only had everything going for him, he enlisted Stanley Kubrick's famed photographer (The Shining) Larry Smith and wrote the storyline together with Hubert Selby (Last Exit To Brooklyn) and he got Turturro to star. It opens like magic. Refn might be an obsessive perfectionist but the visual ripe beauty and subdued enigmatic thriller qualities of the first hour are breathtaking in both their simplicity and perfectionism. Turturro too seems fully at home here, now displaying an honest apprehension I have longed to see him take on since Redford's Quiz Show. The storyline is interesting. Safety guard Harry Caine works at a shopping mall but is stunned by grief when his wife is viciously shot and murdered in the underground parking lot. Caine then spends all his spare time insanely going through CCTV safety tapes, hoping to spot the identity of the killer. Refn's patient opening and sleepy but crispy audiotative visuals makes everything seem in slow-motion. Fear X promises to be a truly effective thriller by now. Notice how vehicles seem to roll rather than drive and how the scenes within the mall are un-hectic and almost drugged. We feel comfortable in Refn's sure hands but also sense a layered unease about to be revealed soon on. Already here - with cops and safety guards in furry Parker coats, minimal and loopy dialogue and brooding snow-covered suburdan scenes that melt into every another - many will draw parallels to Fargo (1996), but that can really only be deemed a testament to how defining the Coens benchmark still is and not as valid critisism of Fear X. No, what is troublesome is how Refn goes absolutely nowhere in the last part of movie. Caine's adventure leads him to a hotel that in itself will have you screaming for other Coen gem also starring Turturro (Turturro, hotel, receive it?) That is, if you're not already bogged down by the shameless nods to The Shining with the suspiciously dark red colors of the hotel furnishing, the tricky lighting and the substitute violent red-liquid scene. There's more. Refn even spices things up with David Lynch mannerisms and comments. Caine is on a kamikaze downfall by now, but the subplot (I won't reveal it) of why and who murdered his wife is so blatantly terrible that when the hotel bell clerk comments to Caine: "We deliever all sorts of entertainment here" - we don't feel that Refn just popped in a cheerful thumbs-up to Lynch's Twin Peaks, but is desperately trying to thicken his sullen gravy of a plot. It's a shame. Fear X ends as a pretentious and self-conscious mess that started out like a long-lost classic and excellent thriller. Director Nicolas Refn is a natural - a master of sound and photo - with an astute feel for vibe and engaging storytelling, but Fear X is pretentious method beyond its game alone, dumb when it could be smart and edgy for all the wrong reasons.


When the moment comes, we're not quite ready for it. Neither are the characters. A safety guard whose wife has been shot dead is looking into the eyes of the boy who shot her. His adventure was not to search out who killed his wife as much as why she died; when asked if he wants to slay his wife's killer, he simply tells ‘I'm not a murderer.'`Fear X,' directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and written by Refn and Hubert Selby Jr., is a storyline about a troubled, obsessed boy looking for a reason for the nice injustice that has struck his life. His name is Harry (Selby Jr. likes characters named Harry, for reasons greatest known to himself) and he is played by John Turturro. It plays as a special look at grief; everyone copes with loss differently, and Harry makes it his duty to track down the murderer. The police wish to search the shooter too, but they seem to have some hidden political agenda (this subplot is never totally explored, but, considering this is Harry's story, I prefer it being left ambiguous).He works at the shopping centre where his wife was killed. There, his co-workers give him a lot of sympathetic looks, but never really go out of their method to create him feel better. One of his co-workers gives him videos of safety footage, which he watches at home, recording faces and snippets of notification about any possible suspects; faces that appear over and over, folks acting suspiciously, or anyone that, in his mind, may have killed his wife. It should be any one of these people.There is a house across the street from Harry that grabs his attention. In the film's opening sequence, we see his wife wander in. Did that really happen? Was it some vague memory? A vision, or a figment of Harry's imagination? He breaks in, and finds some leads that take him to Montana, where he attempts to search a woman whom he thinks knows what is going on.There he checks into a hotel, with a goofy desk clerk and eerie, red, red walls. In a bizarre scene, he is visited by a woman whom we presume is a prostitute, and whom Harry resists. Her dress is also very red; it's as if she has emerged from the very walls of the hotel. It is at this mission that I realised that this was not a movie to take at face value.The movie is intriguing from its very opening. I don't think it is merely being purposefully enigmatic; there is something going on under the surface here. The leads from one case to other that Harry follows sometimes seem too unlikely to totally accept, yet Harry seems determined. At the end of the film, we are left with an necessary passage of time unexplained. What happened while the storyline left the audience for that time? Does Harry know? We are given some sort of explanation by the local police that can be looked at in at least three ways, that I can think of.The work of Hubert Selby Jr. usually sets its characters on kamikaze courses with no another choice but to self-destruct. Here the outlook is a tiny more optimistic. By the end we do feel like Harry's point is over, and he can place a lot of it behind him. Refn is a Danish director who has only directed two another films, neither of which I have seen. He knows how to grab our attention, even if the movie unfolds slowly (a quick pace would be all wrong for this material), and shows us some perfect visuals; the reds of the hotel, Harry's dream sequences, the method the camera cuts from a dark stage to a bright, outdoor scene, accentuated by the startlingly white snow in Montana.John Turturro, a gifted actor, has given many nice performances before (watch `Thirteen Conversations About One Thing' for proof), and this is among his best. He never really lets any large gestures or emotion out (except in that astonishing stage where he finds – or thinks he finds – his wife's murderer), but look at the subtle touches he brings to the role. Watch, for instance, the stage where the woman in the red dress enters Harry's hotel room, and we can see him almost – almost – give in to the temptation, then he comes to his senses, and pulls away ever so slightly, then almost gives in again, but knows that it would be wrong.I think the mission of the movie is that Harry is messed up, and he thinks he is on a point to explore why his wife was randomly killed. The movie works greatest on the lvl of a brilliant psychological thriller; I feel that a lot of this movie happens in Harry's troubled mind; that he suspects things that are presented as fact, to place us in Harry's position. I left the cinema thinking that I was sure about some things, then I realised that the movie is said from Harry's mission of view, and maybe even the scenes without him were only to confuse us more, maybe they are further complications within the delusions of Harry. Can we be positive that all of the scenes in the movie now happen to Harry physically, or is he just finding a method to cope with the problems and troubles that inevitably follow loss, especially if it seems unfair? Sometimes the camera seems to dive right into Harry's mind, and we are shown physical interpretations of the photos and dreams that plague him. Can we be sure that it is only these sequences that are in Harry's mind?****1/2 (out of 5)


"Fear X" is a change of pace and scenery for both Danish director Refn ("Pusher", "Bleeder") and writer Selby Jr. ("Last Exit To Brooklyn", "Requiem For A Dream") who mostly deal with violent urban decay and despair.A shopping mall safety guard, John Turturro, is trying to track down whoever shot his wife in the same mall. A co-worker supplies him with unlimited surveillance tapes which he watches over and over, while taking images of blurry 'suspects' of the tapes. Tiny by tiny he collects fragments of evidence of the identity of the murderer. But "Fear X" is not a straight forward thriller with a crystal clear conclusion, it's more of a dark unsettling psychological adventure of a boy in need of healing for his loss.Snowy Canada is stand-in for Midwestern tiny city Wisconsin in this independent movie (co-produced by Denmark, Britian, and Canada) that has a "Fargo" look to it. The director's two first movies was clearly inspired by the works of Scorsese and especially Abel Ferrara, but "Fear X" is less simple to compare to others. There's a conspiracy feel of films like "Blow Up" and "The Conversation" but some of the surreal photos in the end recalls David Lynch and vintage Polanski. The pace is subtle just like John Turturro's nice lowkey performance which suits the movie perfectly because you can fully identify and feel for his character's quest for the truth. Brian Eno's haunting score also fits the film quite nicely and gives a feeling of genuine dread. Anyone who think all Danish films are overhyped Dogme experiments shot on video by epileptic camera boys are in for a great surprise. The movie is shot in pretty scope by Kubrick's cinematopgrapher. The everytime reliable James Remar, whom I loved since "The Warriors", also deserves praise for his tiny but necessary role."Fear X" received some nice reviews at the newest Sundance festival, and will hopefully search a larger audience. Refn still remains the most promising Danish director, in my opinion, because he fully operates outside the Danish trendy mainstream movie circles with a genuine love for movies, from classic Italian cinema to hardboiled American crime flicks, which create his vision of filmmaking cute special in Denmark and Europe.



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