Fearless (1993)

“Some people are afraid of nothing.” Easily among Jeff Bridges’ greatest performances, Fearless was one of those critically acclaimed box office duds that slipped through the cracks and deserves a second look. Directed by Peter Weir (The Last Wave), Fearless features Bridges as San Francisco architect “Max Klein,” whose perspective on life changes dramatically when he survives a horrific airplane crash. He starts testing the limits, to say the least, by walking on the ledges of high-rise buildings, smashing his car into a concrete wall to test a theory and even eating strawberries that he has always been allergic to and could possibly kill him. He also starts distancing himself from his wife, family, friends and anyone else who didn’t experience the crash, while rejecting anything “inauthentic” in his life. The plane crash itself is disturbingly realistic and the dramatic ending is truly stunning. The terrific cast includes Isabella Rossellini as Max’s wife “Laura”; Rosie Perez as fellow crash survivor “Carla Rodrigo”; Benicio del Toro as Carla’s husband “Manny”; John Turturro as post-traumatic stress specialist “Dr. Bill Perlman”; and Tom Hulce as sleazy attorney “Steven Brillstein.” Perez received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress but lost out to Anna Paquin (The Piano). The soundtrack features Henryk Gorecki’s haunting Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). The film also includes a subtle homage to Hieronymus Bosch! Useless Trivia: Fearless was based on the crash of United Airlines Flight 232, which plummeted into a Sioux City, Iowa, cornfield on July 19, 1989, resulting in the deaths of 111 people (there were 185 survivors).

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