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Fearless

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted February 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
Peter Weir's intensely emotional and wonderfully acted "Fearless" centers around the stories of a group of plane crash survivors; some saddened by the loss of loved ones, another is awakened by the experience, wanting to step off the cliff and journey further into life then he's ever been before.

Jeff Bridges stars as Max Klein, an architect who has just lived through a plane crash. Instead of finding the experience trumatic, he feels that he has escaped the boundaries of living, wanting to test the limits that life has to offer. This creates some wildly memorable scenes, such as Bridges dancing across the ledge of a high-rise building, coat sweeping around him in the breeze as the camera looks downward on the streets below from his perspective.
He finds himself deeply changed, in a world of his own. He is united with another crash survivor who has lost her son(Rosie Perez) and the two gradually learn to help each other heal through the course of the film, starting a deep friendship together.

Weir's film is a wonderfully challenging piece of cinema, showing us the kind of things that we only imagine, such as our last moments, in vivid detail and forcing us to realize how fragile that life can be. The performance by Jeff Bridges is excellent, detached, but still intense and emotional; the other performances, by Rosie Perez and Isabella Rosellini, are enjoyable, but I felt that Bridges held together the film.

THE DVD:
VIDEO QUALITY: As depressing as the lack of a widescreen edition is for this film, the fact remains that this is another Warner Bargain title, an unfortunate choice for one as well- it's a phenomenal movie that deserves better presentation. The pan/scan picture certainly has flaws(I don't like pan/scan to begin with); the picture isn't sharp and in some areas it's quite soft. There are occasional small scratches and problematic elements on the original print. There are also quite a few artifacts throughout. This is my first viewing of a Warner "Bargain" title and the idea, it seems, is to just put out these films in a very basic way at a very cheap price, hoping that people will think they're picking up a bargain. I really don't like the idea for many of the films they've offered, but I think this film is so well done that you almost have to say "I'll take it any way I can get it on DVD." Color saturation, contrast and shadow detail are for the most part fair, sometimes average looking. Flesh tones look accurate, but not richly so. It's mainly all of the instances of small artifacts throughout that got rather distracting at times, especially during some of the darker scenes. A watchable presentation, but not the kind of quality that the movie deserves to be presented in. I would have paid $19.99 for an anamorphic widescreen edition to be included as well for this title. Allen Daviau has worked on a lot of films as a cinematographer besides this one, such as "Empire Of The Sun" and "The Color Purple". He does some really great work here, but this disc isn't really the best showcase for it.

SOUND: A fairly limited sound mix that mainly focuses on dialogue, with a rare use of action or effects. It's limited yes, but it certainly is still enjoyable. I thought the dialogue sounded natural and realistic, although not full sounding in any way. Maurice Jarre's score sounds clear and crisp, but not very strong.

MENUS: Basic, but stylish main menu based around the poster art.

EXTRAS: Nothing.

Overall: I'm a little torn between whether I like this Warner bargain concept or not. I mean, $10.99 isn't bad for anything on DVD, but when it comes to great movies like this, they deserve better than a pan/scan image with numerous artifacts. If you enjoyed this movie though, I recommend the DVD, because there won't likely be a better version of it on disc anytime soon.

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