Fear X (2003)

NICOLAS WINDING REFN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBDenmark/Canada/United Kingdom/Brazil, 2003, , , , , , .  Screenplay by Nicolas Winding Refn, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Following the success of the cult hit Pusher, Nicolas Winding Refn took a stab at a Hollywood thriller and nearly destroyed his career thanks to its disastrous critical and commercial reception (he bounced back with two more Pusher films before Drive made him mainstream in 2011). stars as a mall security guard who is still haunted by the death of his wife in what was assumed to be a random shooting.  Obsessively examining surveillance footage for answers, Turturro hits upon a (poorly explained) clue when he finds a photo that takes him to a small Midwestern town (actually Winnipeg) and into the lives of a nervous cop () and his wife ().  At first, the situations are bewitching and some of the sequences impossibly tense (including a house break-in which has moments of superb intensity), but eventually the plush stylistics (deep recesses of light and colour everywhere you look) become obvious substitutes for a story that has no idea how to conclude.  None of the characters who cross paths ever really connect enough to get a fuse lit, and it ends abruptly without even an ominous sense of satisfaction.

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