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Fear (1996)

Written by Christopher Crowe Directed by James Foley

   Mark Wahlberg has come a long way from his troubled youth. Making his first mark in entertainment with “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch” which lead to becoming an underwear model for Calvin Klein. Deciding to pursue acting, he got his big break in his 1994’s Renaissance Man with Danny DeVito. Being simply a side character, he was given the chance of playing a lead role of the charming yet scarily obsessed boyfriend in this 1996 drama thriller sure to please. Obsession, lack of control and a provocative intimate essence felt so strong, those involved lose sight of anything other than what they wish to obtain.

I’m sure most fathers would agree that one constant thought when referring to their daughters was a sure sense of paranoia at the chance of their little girl falling in love with some self-induced, obsessive punk. Unlucky for Nicole, (Reese Witherspoon) her father Steven (William Petersen) gets dealt with just that. Having lived with her father, stepmother Laura (Amy Brenneman) and step-brother for only the past year Nicole holds a decent enough relationship with him. Though constantly forced to choose between making a living and spending quality time all too often. Sure to show an obvious discernment for his daughter’s choice in clothing, or lack thereof, no doubt absorbed from hanging out with the Halliwell sister gone wild; Margo (Alyssa Milano).

Speaking of bad influences, is swayed into skipping class with Margo and Gary (Todd Caldecott) one afternoon to attend a local beatnick hangout dubbed Largo where a group of guys catch their attention. As we are more or less introduced to David, his eyes seemed fixated directly to her, sharing the first of many moments. Margo takes a flyer promoting a rave of which Nicole informs wouldn’t be able to go either way, having plans of attending a concert with her family instead. Obviously not giving enough credit to the abilities of stalkers when her father is forced yet again to Vancouver for an emergency meeting. Upon arriving later with Margo, who sets her eyes on Logan, (Tracy Fraim) not wasting any time approaching him. While Nicole takes the more subtle approach and stands off to the side, David shortly making his presence known after. But when a fight breaks out each girl take off with their complete strangers (Oh, to be young and dumb). Spending an extra 2 hours past curfew and arriving home to an irritated stepmother who stirs the pot by suggesting Nicole take off her makeup, which looked slutty. Sorry but I’d have to agree. Not on the makeup part but how her wardrobe was barely distinguished as such. You can’t just expect to go out (looking as such) and not expect attention from guys who want nothing more than what your already promoting.

   Nicole and David get to know each other with the assistance of a mini montage of which has “Comedown” by Bush in the background. The relationships turning sour one day after school when Nicole hugs Gary goodbye and David rushes up behind them, knocking her to the ground, mercilessly kicking him continuously. Not believing her eyes Nicole tells David she never wants to see him again, obtaining a black eye from the incident. She chooses to lie about the situation to keep David safe and forgive the incident for the time being. Until the next bonehead move David does which is not too far along (they never are). Rebelling against her father who she believes had struck David (wonder where she got that idea), she returns home later that night not wanting things to get too out of hand with her father. Shortly after being dropped off however decides to surprise him by following him back to his place where she gets a surprise herself. Margo obviously not being afraid of showing off her “sex skills” (sex skills? Yea, iuno whatever you call it) in front of a room full of people. Nicole witnessing her so-called boyfriend berate Margo and taking it upon himself to whisk her off to the bedroom to be used as it seemed she had resorted herself to.

Claiming to really be through with him this time and ignoring both ex-lover and now ex-best friend, David confronts Gary but loses his temper in a somewhat foreseeable manner. Meanwhile, Steven has been investigating “this psycho” to finds out his claims of having a semblance of normal childhood were vastly exaggerated  Growing up in foster home after foster home with an abundant history of violence Steven uses the information to discover his location. Seeing no trouble in destroying the place before heading back home. Once home they’re later joined by Margo who brakes news of Gary’s death. When the group of guys do return to their home, completely ransacked, the intense feeling of a fiery wrath revenge only to suffice. Intense moments filled with fear (eh, eh) and endless amounts of uncertainty of what will happen fill the last moments onscreen. So oblivious at the pain he only caused her.

   Final Thoughts: I’ve always heard a lot of discernment questioning Wahlberg’s acting abilities which I’ve found to be a bit silly. Most or at least a vast majority of actors have not always been lucky, we all can’t be Leo’s now! Initially being noticed for your body and trying to turn that into a successful acting career probably not helping the argument further. Speaking clearly as a fan of him, I can also state that he’s only gotten better and has become quite the go to guy for action flicks. That is whenever Statham doesn’t seem to be available. The role of David required a certain charm and overall sweet demeanor but to be balanced with the tough/scary side of this psychologically troubled man who no longer knew right from wrong. An obvious ideal choice for the role who was able to equal out Witherspoon’s breakout role of a sweet girl whose clear call for attention was answered by a worst possible choice. Milano is always a favorite flirtatious girl tittering on the line of having fun and being used. She has been acting for already some time so breezed through this performance as though it’d be a stretch for her to be sexy and cute; she just is! I was also particularly fond of the intensity Peterson and Wahlberg shared, what a great pair to pin against each other. Coming together rather quickly and not taking too much time on any specific part throughout which let the psychology behind David make for a great story.