Action / Drama / Thriller


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Benicio Del Toro as Manny Rodrigo
Jeff Bridges as Max Klein
Isabella Rossellini as Laura Klein
John Turturro as Dr. Bill Perlman
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866.33 MB
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2hr 2 min
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23.976 fps
2hr 2 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Gary M. James 9 / 10

One of the few films that in the end brought on a full-fledged catharsis

When I first saw "Fearless" in a movie theater, I believe there were about 20 to 30 other moviegoers in the theater on a weekday afternoon. It was in it's second week in theaters. After the credits rolled, I heard a lot of weeping from the small but vocal audience.

Maybe the film flopped because some people expected a 1970's-style disaster flick with cardboard characters, laughable dialog and unknown extras & doubles performing dangerous stunts.

It's been almost eight years since watching "Fearless" for the first time. This is one of only 5 movies I actually own in my very small tape library.

Director Peter Weir amazes me. With a few exceptions (I didn't like "Dead Poets Society" and I haven't seen "Green Card"), he has always walked on a tightrope when it comes to telling a story. It might not result in a "satisfying" ending but when you think about what was presented two hours earlier, it makes a lot of sense. It's a logical and very fascinating progression.

I believe that Jeff Bridges can (almost) do no wrong. His character may not be very likable but put yourself in his character's shoes and you may understand the reasons why he believes that he is "fearless".

I haven't seen Isabella Rossellini's performance in "Blue Velvet" but it makes me wonder if her performance in that film beats her role as the caring but very confused wife of Jeff Bridges' character. She's definitely the heart of "Fearless". I cared for her. I felt empathy; her confusion of what her husband was doing to himself, her family and herself. She's on the outside trying her best to understand what it was like to survive a plane crash. But at the same time, not totally understanding what it was like to be on the ill-fated flight. Rossellini gave a glowing performance.

Rosie Perez's performance as the distraught woman who lost her young son in the crash was incredible. Unlike some people in this world, I do like Perez (thick Spanish accent and all). What really impressed me was how she captured the depth of losing her child. There have been some films & TV movies that have captured the effects of a family losing a spouse or adult child. There haven't been as many to deal with the loss of a child as well as "Fearless" did. Perez hasn't had a role with this much depth in a long time. I was pleasantly surprised when she received an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress, the movie's only nomination.

The unrequited bond between Bridges' and Perez's characters was fascinating to watch. They survived something that their love ones will never understand. In the end, the two need to understand that despite their losses, they are still alive in this world and somehow they need to find a way to get back to reality.

Screenwriter Rafael Yglesias, who wrote the novel, captured the complexity of crash survivors almost flawlessly. One weak link: John Turturro had the thankless job of playing the underwritten role of the psychiatrist.

When a film like "Fearless" even inspires a music video (Brian McKnight's "Back At One"), then you know that this movie will have a lasting effect and with cable, VHS & DVD, it'll never be forgotten. I certainly haven't forgotten it.

Reviewed by Boyo-2 10 / 10

A transcendental blending of music and film.

This is a great movie that never found much of an audience. Jeff Bridges should have been Oscar-nominated for his work here. Some scenes are extremely difficult to watch, but you will never forget a lot of them. Also fantastic are Rosie Perez and Benicio Del Toro. The crash scenes are so realistic, that it is unthinkable that people actually did go through similar ordeals.

Reviewed by jhclues 10 / 10

A Character Study That Goes Beyond

The inability to `reconnect' in the wake of a significant emotional event, especially one involving a close encounter with death, is examined by director Peter Weir, in `Fearless,' a gripping drama starring Jeff Bridges as a man emotionally adrift after walking away from an accident (a plane crash) that by all rights should have killed him, but inexplicably did not. And Weir goes on to take what is essentially a character study one step further, beyond the inevitable `why me?' that one who survives such an unimaginable episode in their life must necessarily make, to probe the psyche of the survivor and attempt to sort out the ensuing catch-22 of the mind, wherein the incident has manifested a schizophrenic sense of guilt/euphoria born of fate's decree that he, among those now dead, should live. It's a lot to assimilate; a taxing physical and psychological challenge necessitating an expanded utilization of the human capacity, and the subsequent negotiation of the attendant recast attitude and aptitude. All of which Weir succinctly captures through keen observation and his own intuitive grasp of the human condition.

As the film opens, we see Max Klein (Bridges) making his way through a cornfield just outside of Bakersfield, California; he's carrying a baby in his arms and has a young boy by the hand, leading him determinedly through the haze of smoke from the crash. There are others following Max, as well. And even before they emerge from the field, coming upon the crash site where rescue workers are already furiously attempting to sort it all out, there is a detachment about Max that is readily discernible. He surveys the situation calmly, as if seeing it all through the eyes of someone else, as if he were outside of himself, observing rather than experiencing. Then after locating the baby's mother, he simply walks away from it all, never looking back.

Two days later the F.B.I. finds him in a local motel. They put him together with a representative from the airline, who offers him a train ticket back home to San Francisco. But Max wants to fly home, which astounds the rep. `But your wife,' she says, `Told us that you didn't like to fly, even before the--' `The crash?' he replies. Then with assurance he tells her, `I want to fly home on your airline. But I have a request; I want to go first class.' And we know now, without question, that Max is not the same man that he was before the crash.

In his previous films, such as `Picnic At Hanging Rock' (1975), `Witness' (1985) and `The Mosquito Coast' (1986), Weir established himself as a director who knows human nature and is adept at exploring the emotional depths of his characters, in stories dealing with ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations. As he does with this film, Weir sets a deliberate pace and allows that extra moment that means so much to the development of the characters. It's a subtle approach that adds depth and resonance to his films, and allows his audience to experience, rather than just watch, the drama as it unfolds. And he understands (as few directors do-- especially Americans ) the impact that `silence' can have, as in the scenes here shortly after Max leaves the crash sight. First, Weir shows us a solemn Max, driving alone through the desert at high speed, gradually awakening to the joys of living, to that `feeling' of being alive, as he sticks his head out of the widow and lets the wind hit him in the face, slapping him with the reality that he is, indeed, alive. But then we see Max parked by the side of the road, sitting on the ground, pensively staring out at the vast expanse of desert and at the low, blue mountains in the distance. The absolute silence Weir effects allows us to share Max's thoughts at that moment, to get inside his head as he picks up a bit of dirt and examines it closely, then as he looks up again at the nothingness/everything that surrounds him. As Max reflects, we reflect with him; and in that precise moment, that necessary connection between Max and the audience is firmly established. It's a quiet, and brilliant, piece of filmmaking.

Through many years and many movies, Jeff Bridges has demonstrated time and again his consummate ability as an actor who can `touch' his audience, and he continues to evolve with every new film. Max is perhaps his most challenging role ever, as it requires a vast emotional range to make this character convincing and bring him to life believably. And Bridges succeeds magnificently, and on a number of levels, with an inspiring, Oscar worthy performance. The finesse with which he conveys his moods and emotions is extraordinary; he enables you to `feel' his displacement, share his compassion, sense his empathy and know his anger. Quite simply, Bridges makes Max Klein a character you are not going to forget.

As Laura Klein, Isabella Rossellini gives a remarkable performance, as well, as the wife given the gift of her husband's life, only to have to suffer his state of `limbo,' as she desperately attempts to penetrate the defense mechanisms that have given him a renewed appreciation for the touch, taste and beauty of life, all of which she is unable to share because his experience has taken him to a place she cannot possibly go. Her portrayal is astute, convincing and some of the best work she has ever done.

Also turning in a strong performance, for which she deservedly was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, is Rosie Perez, as Carla, a fellow crash survivor with whom Max forms an especially strong and significant bond.

Written for the screen by Rafael Yglesias (adapted from his own novel), beautifully filmed by Allen Davian, and with a haunting score by Maurice Jarre that so sensitively enhances the drama in an understated way, `Fearless' is an example of filmmaking at it's best.

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