"Suspenseful and fascinating but also confusing and disappointing"
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2003: Fear X is a beautifully shot, suspenseful thriller by Nicolas Winding Refn. John Turturro is superb as Harry Cain, a security guard whose wife was murdered in the very shopping centre he works. Trying to figure out the reason behind her death, Harry discovers things about himself he never thought existed.Harry Cain works as a security guard in a shopping centre. When his wife is shot by an unknown killer, he tries to figure out the person and the reason behind the crime. Studying the surveillance tapes from the shopping centre, he searches for anything suspicious that could lead him to the killer. After an unknown family snapshot (found during a break-in at a neighbouring house) leads him to a remote small town, he soon realises that heís on the right track.
Thereís a lot to like in Fear X. John Turturro is excellent as the emotionally unstable Harry. The film looks stunning. The pacing is good, slow but never boring. Itís an interesting story. Nice soundtrack. It does keep you on the edge of your seat a lot of the time and yes, I did really enjoy it. BUT, there were a lot of things that didnít make any sense. I donít know, maybe I didnít get it. Actually, I know for sure I didnít get it cause I left the cinema very confused. As the film goes on, we start to learn that not everything is as it should be inside Harryís brain. Surreal, subjective images are scattered throughout the film. Dark and disturbing, they tell us there is a lot of suppressed rage inside this seemingly calm and gentle man. And, since we get to see this, you start to doubt the other things in the film. What is real and what isnít? Which scenes are subjective recollections of events and which arenít? Can we accept anything as Harry does as really happening? Why are some of the people acting in such a strange and unnatural way? Thereís a lot of weirdness going on here.
But, then again, Iím not sure itís a bad thing that it left me confused. There is nothing wrong with a film that makes you think, and there are not too many of those being made these days. Iím just not completely convinced that itís what the director was trying to achieve. I do still recommend Fear X. You may have no problem accepting what goes on in the film. In that case, good for you. Me, I think I might have to get the book. Maybe that will clear things up.A compelling and confusing, heavily stylised murder mystery. A great performance from John Turturro and some touches of Lynchian weirdness makes this an interesting enough way to spend an afternoon.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.