Monday, December 11, 2006

Fear X

Fear X
Directed by; Nicolas Winding Renf, Denmark/Canada/UK/Brazil, 2003
Drama / Thriller, 91 min.
Distributed by: Nordisk Film

Shopping mall security guard Harry [John Turturo] works all day and spends all day watching surveillance camera footage in the hunt for his wife’s murderer. One day he is approached by the police who have an image of the killer, but don’t know his identity. After being lead by the ghost of his wife in a dream to the house next door Harry finds a mysterious photograph of a woman. Harry jump to conclusions and sets out to find the woman on the photograph to see if she can help him find the identity of his wife killer.

Gosh! First off, I really enjoyed Winding Renf’s previous Danish movies Pusher 1996, and Bleeder 1999 which both contain a variety of homage’s and tributes to European exploitation movies from the late eighties. Fear X is based on a novel by Hubert Shelby Jr. [Last Exit to Brooklyn 1989, Requiem for a Dream 2000], it is a dark haunting movie which plays with familliar Lynch-ian / Coen-ish undertones and themes, but I liked it. I liked it a lot. Unlike other movies with open endings that I’ve watched lately, this one engages and the possible off-screen endings generate many thoughts on possible scenarios. Did the climax take place in Harry’s head or is it just yet another part of the cover up operation that he stumbles across? I can’t really understand that this movie was received so lamely by audiences, Winding Renf already has a fan based following, but for this one they just weren’t there. His company Jang Go Star even went bankrupt because the audience failed this one. Like I said, it’s a mystery to me, because the story is good. It unfolds in a nice way, even though there are a bit too many coincidences that lead the way, but that’s part of the main root to this tale. His wife is killed by coincidence, and if we’re buying that, then the rest shouldn’t be too hard to accept. Turuturo is great as the frustrated Harry, haunted by the ghost of his late wife [Jacqueline Ramel] and not knowing why she was killed. But by far the movie belongs to James Remar’s Peter character. From the first frame you see him, you know that he’s the killer, and you want him brought to justice ASAP. But this position is delicately shifted as his remorse and vulnerability shines thorough the more he’s on screen. This isn’t a cold blooded killer as we initially thought, he’s just a man who by coincidence got drawn into a dark cover up operation to eliminate bad cops, and who accidentally happened to kill Harry’s wife. His dark secret and personal demons are starting to shatter his marriage to Kate [Deborah Kara-Unger] who by coincidence it the woman on the photograph that has led Harry to Peter. To add to the Lynchian feeling of the movie, the mixture of Peter De Neergards pale colour schemes, and the minimalist interior design of Harry’s suburban home to the dark hotel and its blood red corridors and Brian Eno’s haunting score work terrific. I feel that this movie is a gem that has been misunderstood and should immediately be watched by anyone waiting for the next Lynch or Coen brother movie. Ok it’s a fair bit lighter that those guys movies, but it’s well worth the ninety minutes that it plays.

2.35:2 Anamorphic Widescreen.

English audio, Dolby Digital 5.1. Optional Danish, Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish subtitles are available.

A twenty five minute making of which documents the background and the shoot. Cast and crew talk about the movie and its creation. Eight trailers for other titles released by Nordisk Film.

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