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Fear (DVD, 1998)
(23 Epinions reviews)
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Fear ---- Starring Reese Witherspoon, Mark Wahlberg, and William L. Petersen
Mar 23, 2006
Review by three_ster
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:great cast, a nice suspenseful story, interesting characters
Cons:the ending, could seem formulaic being seen now
The Bottom Line: Fear was a pretty good film that had a great cast, and was quite suspenseful.
1996 doesn't seem like all that long ago, but when you see who the stars of the 96 picture Fear, you realize just how far each of them have come since then. The film stars a young Reese Witherspoon as Nicole Walker, who has led a pretty sheltered life. She lives with her father, step-mother, and step-brother, and indeed lives the simple life in a Seattle, Washington suburb. Her father is played by William L. Petersen, whom everyone knows better as Grissom on C.S.I. Las Vegas. In this particular role he is the man who doesn't want to see his daughter grow up too fast, and has not set aside the necessary time to get to know her better. With work taking up too much of his time, Nicole heads out to a party where she crosses paths with a guy that immediately catches her eye. That guy is David McCall, who is played by Mark Wahlberg. With a cast like this, it would be called star-studded if the film were just coming out.
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From the start Nicole seems like she is in over her head, and David shows all the appearances of being the perfect gentleman only when she is around. Her dad is able to see past everything to what he really is, but when David wins over her step-mother (played by Amy Brenneman), he is pretty much given a free-pass into the household. David has a darker side to him though, which appears when Nicole least expects it, and causes her to want to cut ties with him. This isn't going to fly with David though, and we start to see glimpses of a guy who will do anything to stay with Nicole, even if that means resorting to violence. This is the meat of the story, and though there are many additional supporting characters, they only play smaller parts in the drama between Nicole and David. Of course everyone around them is drawn into the situation, and the audience is left to wonder where it will all lead.
In one of her roles to shed the "good-girl" image, Alyssa Milano plays one of Nicole's best friends. She is a girl willing to take far more risks than Nicole, and is the party girl that always wants to be the center of attention. Her role is a minor one compared to other characters, but she does play an important part in how the plot starts to evolve later on in the movie. Seeing Reese in a role like this, you cannot help but think of Cruel Intentions, where she was also the innocent girl, who ends up being turned by a conniving male suitor. The story-lines are very similar, but rather than being a movie of the mind, this one shows the violent side of things, and what can happen when someone truly snaps. On the other side of things, Wahlberg was perfectly cast for the part of David, who at first seems very soothing and understanding, but soon shows off an undertone of violent tendencies.
The casting for the film was done pretty well, and the story was formulated in a manner that keeps the suspense going right up until the end. The characters are all believable, and it really ended up being one of those break-out movies for everyone involved. Witherspoon and Wahlberg ended up striking it big in film, while Brenneman and Peterson made their marks on television. The strong potential, and the added suspense of the themes didn't save the movie entirely in my opinion though. There were a lot of instances as the film built up where I didn't find the story plausible, but went along with it to make sure that I enjoyed the experience. Some of the actions that the characters took didn't quite fit their personas, but I was willing to overlook that in order to fully enjoy the climax. That climax though, wasn't as good as I had hoped, and the thrills came to an abrupt end that was too abrupt for me. Thats not to say that it all went wrong, but that it did have good acting, it was full of suspense, and yet it could have used a little more "oomph" to push it over the top. On the whole it was a decent film, but not one you would want to watch again very soon, and lacked in anything that would stay with you for a long time. It is a violent film, with some pretty rough subject matter, so my recommendation comes with caution.
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