Fractured, written by Alan B. McElroy (Spawn) and directed by Brad Anderson (Beirut), is a new psychological thriller taking aim at paranoia towards the modern healthcare system. Although the script does have some narrative shortcomings, thanks to Anderson’s tight directing, the film manages to be satisfyingly tense and twisty.
The movie is about a man who checks his wife and daughter into a hospital before falling asleep, only to discover when he wakes that the hospital has no record of his family ever checking in. A relatively simple thriller set-up used in a unique way, this film transports the audience into the mind of the protagonist, delivering a sharp thriller that preys on the deepest fears one doesn’t even know they have.
A significant part of the movie’s appeal is that it is so unpredictable. At many points in the film, one may start to think they have figured out what the truth about the movie’s mystery is, only for the film to take a sudden change and go in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the filmmakers did feel the need to go a bit too obvious and heavy-handed with the ending, ruining the sense of ambiguity so meticulously built for the first hour and a half of the movie, but it does eventually improve.
Admittedly, the film does take a bit too long to get moving — the portion before the disappearance occurs drags significantly — though once the movie kicks into gear, it speeds off and takes the audience with it into its twisted web of deception (or confusion). Because the film keeps the audience guessing, it is easy to get wrapped up in the story and become completely immersed in the movie’s world.
Perhaps the main reason why the film is so effective is that the protagonist is extremely well-written. Ray is a compelling character from the outset of the movie because he is trying to find and protect his family. However, as the film goes on, viewers will begin to identify with him more and more as he begins to question his own sanity. A majority of the movie’s tension comes from the fact that the audience wants to see Ray reunite with his family.
Sam Worthington gives a very strong performance in the leading role. Although he is mostly known for action-oriented roles such as his (fun to watch) turns in Avatar and Terminator Salvation, there are a few roles (this one included) that allow him to utilize his full range. This role requires him to go from shocking intensity to full vulnerability within a matter of seconds, and he manages to pull it off with ease.
The film is also good on a technical level. Likely the most interesting thing about the movie’s visuals is the production design which does an amazing job of immersing the audience within the hospital in which a majority of the film is set. The cinematography and editing aren’t quite as successful — particularly in the final sequence — but they are able to create a sense of urgency and chaos that dominates the movie.
Full of surprises, Fractured is more than the average Netflix original thriller. Even though it doesn’t exactly stick the landing, a great turn by Sam Worthington and plenty of twists and surprises allow this to be a thoroughly fun flick to add to the queue.
Fractured debuts on Netflix on October 11.