Jeff Bridges did not receive and Oscar nomination for portraying Max Klein in Fearless.
Jeff Bridges is an actor I must admit I liked more before I started reviewing his performances. This really is mainly because most of the performances are saw of him beforehand are relatively lighter performances where is unique charm and humor came into play. When he goes for more complex portrayals I can't say he always succeeds. Here Bridges goes for something unique as well as quite strange as he portrays the man who lost all his fears because a traumatic accident. Bridges actually attempts to show almost an otherworldly quality to his performance as the character of Max Klein frankly feels between the world of the living and the dead.
I hate to say it, and I know many will disagree with me, but I just was not all that impressed by his performance here which is for a great while rather repetitive. He keeps giving that same stare as if he is looking between life and death a lot of the time, while usually smiling in his Bridges sort of fashion, while still seeming to be perfectly detached at the same time as well. His detachment goes away randomly, but it does goes away at times. Sometimes in the form of anger at those seeking to trivialize the tragedy, or just at those who do not understand because they were not part of it. There is not really a lot of method to this side of Max, but nor does there really need to be.
Now what did not astound me about this performance is I never really felt Bridges achieved that otherworldly quality he most certainly is looking to portray. He certainly tries to but I more of saw always as Bridges just being stuck in the same slightly out of it stare for most of it. Now I do not want to be mistaken I do no think in any way shape or form Bridges is bad here, especially achieving what Bridges is going for here is most certainly not easy task, but nevertheless I have to say I never did feel Bridges reached the place in his performance. Because he does not reach the point he needs to the performance never quite comes to life as vividly as it needs to be.
In the scene where he does break the mold actually do work well enough, they do not have a great deal lasting impact on the overall characterization really since Bridges portrays them as random as they should be considering his character's state of mind. Bridges shows the quick outbursts of anger pretty well as they are quick sharp and to the point, less impressive for me is his big scene where he tests his fear by standing on the very edge of a building looking down. This scene should be the powerful pivotal moment for the performance, but Bridges whole portrayal of it seems like he is just going through the motion of a powerful scene more than making it a truly powerful scene.
There is not anything about this performance that ever became as outstanding as it should be, he never really drove the film to the degree he should have. Much like the film itself it is always a work that wants to be more than it really ends up being. Bridges though really is never bad though either I should point this out as he does still portray the emotions as they should be I suppose for the character in mind, but as you might notice I am mentioning this in a very technical fashion because it only ever felt Bridges' performance to be technically good in almost every aspect, never turning into a great one.
Bridges does have one moment in his performance that I feel shows what might have been the rest of his performance which is when it shows the scene on the plane just when he it is about to crash. In this scene Bridges finally does seem to achieve that otherworldly quality, and shows exactly how good the rest of his performance could have scene. It is a very remarkable scene and Bridges finally creates this feeling of being in the in between. This scene only really serves in showing just how good he possibly could have been through the entire film, but for me this is the only great moment in an otherwise adequate performance.