Fear X

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Delicately assaulting the audience's emotional and subconscious expectations, Fear X twists the psychological thriller genre into a mesmerizing journey inside the mind of a man faced with traumatic loss and follows him on his journey to discover the truth.

In the stark winter landscape of Wisconsin, a security guard's (John Turturro) wife has been shot in the mall where he works. Obsessed with finding the killer, he spends every free moment studying surveillance camera footage, looking for a shred of evidence to help ease his blinding pang for resolution. He finally uncovers a photograph that seemingly leads him down the path of revelation, but as he draws closer to the perpetrator, his well-being—both physical and psychological—is increasingly threatened.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn slips the story gradually under the skin with graceful notes and soft tones instead of pounding out plot points and suspense hooks. In so doing, he creates a film whose aesthetic is based on psychological turmoil and whose narrative is refreshingly open to interpretation. Boasting an all-star, international production team and a magnificently restrained performance by John Turturro, Fear X marks the emergence of an extremely gifted filmmaker who shows exquisite command of the cinematic language.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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