Fear X

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Fear X
Fear X (Poster 1).jpg
The Past Can Never Be Rewound
Directed byNicolas Winding Refn
Screenplay byHubert Selby Jr.
Nicolas Winding Refn
Story byHubert Selby Jr.
StarringJohn Turturro
James Remar
Deborah Kara Unger
Music byBrian Eno
J. Peter Schwalm
CinematographyLarry Smith
Edited byAnne Østerud
Distributed byLions Gate Entertainment
Release date
  • 19 January 2003 (2003-01-19) (Sundance Film Festival)
Running time
91 minutes
United Kingdom
Budget$6.6 million

Fear X is a 2003 psychological thriller film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The first film to be produced from one of Hubert Selby Jr.'s original screenplays,[1] its eventual box-office failure would force Refn's film company Jang Go Star into bankruptcy.[2] Refn's financial recovery was documented in the 2006 documentary The Gambler.[3]


A security guard's wife is killed in a seemingly random incident. Prompted by mysterious visions, he journeys to discover the true circumstances surrounding her murder.


Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film earned a 57% rating.[4] On Metacritic, the film earned a score of 61 out of 100, which means "generally favorable reviews."[5] Though the film itself has received mixed reviews, the majority praise John Turturro's performance. LA Weekly says "Turturro ... never wavers in his commitment to a role that deprives him of nearly all his actorly tools. (He) keeps Fear X fascinating."[5] The New York Daily News says "Turturro's subtle turn keeps our emotional connection solid" [4] and Compuserve adds "Turturro gets under your skin."[4]

Film ending[edit]

Director Nicolas Winding Refn commented on the ending within several interviews: In an interview with BBC:

  • "Harry’s impossible quest raises questions, but it all adds to the brave elliptical nature of this film. So did Refn ever get to the bottom of those questions in his own mind? "I can’t answer that," he says bluntly. "It depends on how I feel that day. And of course that pisses off a lot of people because they’re not used to a film without an ending. But what the f**k is an ending, you know?"[6]

In an interview with IndieWire:

  • "Fear X" is about idealists and when they're confronted with reality, a lot of the time their ideals are tested and turned and they're no longer what they thought they would be..."[7]

"You can view it in many different ways... it's so up to your own interpretation."'[7]

  • "How were we going to end this, without giving anything away, without making it too obvious, because the minute the audience's mind begins to work, you're on very dangerous ground. Because if you tell them too much, they're disappointed and if you don't give them any clues, they get confused. So it's that fine line of giving the audience as they walk out, okay, I believe it's this or I believe it's that. We never gave more in the script." [7]

Actor John Turturro also commented on the ending within an interview with Channel 4: "I liked it because the idea of the story was about a simple man thrust into this overwhelming, debilitating circumstance, and he never really finds out what happens... Nicholas doesn't have all the answers to what he's trying to do. A lot of times these guys, their biggest problem is solving the script, but Nicholas seems to be a filmmaker who likes to throw the script away."[8]


(Listed chronologically)


  • 2003 - Sochi International Film Festival - Nominated - Golden Rose
  • 2003 - Sitges - Catalan International Film Festival - Nominated - Best Film
  • 2004 - Bodil Awards - Nominated - Best Actor
  • 2004 - Fantasporto - Nominated - Best Film
  • 2004 - Fantasporto - Won - Best Screenplay


The film was shot in sequence (chronological order).[7]

Film Locations[edit]

  • Polo Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


External links[edit]