Rupert Pupkin Speaks: My Warner Archive Grab Bag: FEARLESS on Blu-ray ""

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Warner Archive Grab Bag: FEARLESS on Blu-ray

FEARLESS(1993; Peter Weir)
"You said everything was going to be okay and it wasn't!"
Peter Weir's film FEARLESS opens in a remarkably compelling way. It opens in a cornfield. We see Jeff Bridges(one of my favorite actors) carrying a baby and holding hands with a little boy as the make their way through this cornfield and we start to get a sense that something is amiss. It feels like a dream at first, but then we start to see smoke and there is a reveal of the mangled tail of an commercial airplane. Then we start to see more and more of the aftermath of this plane crash. It's an incredibly powerful opening and Weir handles it masterfully. I think that peter Weir is just one of those craftsman directors that folks sometimes overlook. He's just a damned fine filmmaker.
FEARLESS is a remarkable film about a man(Bridges) who has survived the plane crash and it has a completely and understandibly transcendent effect on him. It's almost like some much more dramatic version of JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO. Don't get me wrong, the two films couldn't be more different tonally and in many other ways, but there is this sense of a man experiencing life anew in an uncomplicated way that is similarly transcendant. How FEARLESS differs is that it really deals with the very complicated and massive psycholical and spiritual aftermath of tragedy. There's this 'stop and smell the roses' part of it, but Weir's film also deals with all the darkness that surrounds the mental state of this man that survived a horrific event. Most films like this don't even go that far, but FEARLESS takes it one step further. The film wants to examine the process of healing that can occur between people. Not physical of course but the mending of the emotional and psychological wounds that the survivors of this crash can help each other with. It's a beautiful, philosophical film that needs to be rediscovered. It was released in the earliest days of DVD and this new Blu-ray will hopefully bring the film to many like myself that had forgotten about it. I hadn't seen it since it first hit VHS back in the 1990s. I remember I was working at a video store at the time and we got a ton of copies for our new release wall. The film was quite a popular renter at the time and folks seemed to be pretty high on it. I was finishing high school at the time and I think my age made it harder for me to relate to the film. I had very little life experience and my mind was not particularly open to the examination of spiritualism and philosophy that this movie had to offer. I can't recall my exact reaction, but I'm pretty sure it was along the lines of "damn that movie was a bummer and it was good but I'll never watch it again". Seeing it again 20 years later, after I've lived a bit more, become a parent and had time to do my own soul-searching as far as my views on spiritualism and philosophy changed things. It was obviously a whole different ball game for me now. It'll be a whole different thing for me after I've experienced the loss and devastation of the death of a loved one, that part I can only imagine the impact of. That's what I love about movies of course is the whole idea that they can be completely and totally different experiences from one viewing to the next. Certain movies more than others really depend on where you are in your life when you see them. They absolutely imprint on you and you make a decision in your head as to how you feel about them and if you'll ever see them again. FEARLESS was one that I thought I had closed the door on, but I am so glad I opened it again. It's just fantastic.

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