Jeff Bridges and Peter Weir both made career-defining movies in 1998—The Big Lebowski and The Truman Show, respectively—but five years earlier they collaborated on a significantly less-remembered film that caught both of them working at a creative peak. Fearless is one of those criminally underseen movie masterpieces that captures an optimal meeting of material, performance, and execution. Rafael Yglesias adapted his own novel, the story of Max (Bridges), a man who survives a massive plane crash and subsequently enters some sort of altered state where he no longer feels, or at least no longer recognizes, fear. The story gets at some tricky, potentially shmaltzy ideas about faith, trauma, and how fear connects us to ourselves and others, but the film avoids over-sentimentality through Bridges’ raw, subtly funny performance and Weir’s understated but boldly cinematic direction. (Weir holds off on showing us the crash itself until the most affecting possible moment, and when it arrives, man, it’s a doozy.) Rosie Perez, turning in the performance of her career as a grief-stricken fellow survivor, and John Tuturro as the grief counselor that brings her and Max together are also pivotal elements of Fearless’ delicate chemistry. The film airs mid-day today on Sundance—11 a.m. Eastern—so set your DVR and plan to sit down with this one when you feel emotionally ready to do so.
May 26, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day