Recently I watched Peter Weir’s 1993 movie “Fearless” again. I’ve always liked it hugely. I think now I like it more than ever.
For me it is thematically and stylistically closer to his earlier movies “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975) and “The Last Wave” (1977).
In the earlier movie, a group of teachers and young girls from a finishing school picnic at Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day in 1900, and a young teacher and some the girls go missing. They are never found, and the movie becomes a meditation on unsolved mystery and its effects.
In “Fearless,” moments occurring before and during the early stages of the crash are shown in the opening sequence, with then a cut to survivors walking through a cornfield. Throughout the movie, in waking flashes and dreams, the Jeff Bridges and Rosie Perez characters relive bits of the experience, but the entirety of the crash is now shown until the final section of the movie in which the Bridges character lies on the floor of his home in anaphylactic shock. The long and beautifully conceived and edited crash sequence is set not to action or suspense music but Henryk Górecki's “Symphony No. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” continuing through the end credits and culminating in soprano Dawn Upshaw’s heartbreaking vocalization.
Bridges has had a long and remarkable career as far back as “The Last Picture Show.” He has turned in many notable performances. For me, his performance here is his finest.