In the next of my posts about movies which I studied for my article “Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different?“, I am writing about Fearless (Peter Weir, 1993). The following is a summary for the movie on IMDb about the movie:
After a terrible air disaster, survivor Max Klein emerges a changed person. Unable to connect to his former life or to wife Laura, he feels godlike and invulnerable. When psychologist Bill Perlman is unable to help Max, he has Max meet another survivor, Carla Rodrigo, who is racked with grief and guilt since her baby died in the crash which she and Max survived.https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106881/?ref_=fn_al_tt_5
Many of the movies that I studied for my article were not very good (based on IMDb averages as well as my own views) and many also deal with plane crashes. There are some very good ones amongst them, however – these include Climber’s High, One-no-Kanata-ni, Shizumanu Taiyo, and Aftermath. Fearless is another. This is the movie that Ground Control could have been (albeit approaching the subject from the opposite direction – someone who feels invincible rather than suffering from the trauma of what happened).
In terms of the revised list of conventions that I developed as part of my article “Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different?“, Fearless has only 12 out of the 17. But, unlike many other English-language disaster movies (as opposed to Japanese ones), Fearless does show dead bodies and does not hide away from the stark reality of what plane crashes can be like. Like Aftermath, its gritty realism (and not trying to put an unrealistic positive storyline in it for a happy ending like Ground Control) helps Fearless a powerful watch.