Fear X (2003)

Fear X
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Hubert Selby Jr.
Cast: John Turturro, Deborah Kara Unger, James Remar, Jacqueline Ramel

Harry’s (John Turturro) wife Claire (Jacqueline Ramel) was shot and killed. Nobody knows why or by whom. Harry spends all his spare time looking at security footage and trying to piece everything together. He is haunted by visions of Claire which are slowly but surely pointing him in a certain direction. So Harry starts investigating even harder and finds a trace that leads him to Kate (Deborah Kara Unger) and the murderer.

Fear X is an idiosyncratic movie. It’s beautiful to look at, with a mesmerizing performance by John Turturro but it won’t fit any mold easily.


I actually caught myself thinking of Kubrick and especially of The Shining in a lot of the scenes, especially the  hotel. Turns out that the film was shot by Larry Smith, who also shot Eyes Wide Shut, so I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise. In any case it was wonderful to look at.

But it was not only Kubrick I was thinking of, but it’s also noticeable a Refn movie. Part of the visions reminded me of Valhalla Rising, the slow pacing and little dialogue fits together with Drive. There is certainly a style to Refn’s movies that is his own and that I like very much.


But what was even more impressive than the look of the film was John Turturro. He was amazing and showed how restrained fantastic acting can be. He also manages to be the safety anchor that you sometimes need during the film because the story can be a little disconcerting and extremely disorienting. I’m still unsure whether I actually understood correctly how the film ended.

But you have Harry and you can hold on to him which is the thing that keeps the movie from spiraling into total cuckoo-land. Amid the dream sequences and the moody score by Brian Eno that is a necessary thing to keep you from getting lost and to keep you from losing interest.


Summarising: Very worth watching but will be far from everyone’s cup of tea.

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