Brad Anderson’s Fractured

Brad Anderson’s Fractured is not a good film, but it somehow manages to look, sound and feel like one. How, you may ask? It’s just one of those slick, dynamic thrillers that is absolutely engaging on a stylistic level, well acted, scary when it needs to be and very atmospheric… however, it has a manipulative, unfair zigzag of a narrative that insults both the audience’s deductive skills and overall intelligence and at times feels like they were making it up as they went along, and decided right in the middle of the third act which fork in the road they were gonna go with in terms of plot resolution. Not a good look from a screenplay standpoint. Anderson is a terrific filmmaker who is responsible for some of my dearest favourites in the horror/thriller genres including Transsiberian, Session 9, Stonehearst Asylum, Vanishing On 7th Street, The Machinist and a few fascinating if flawed efforts like The Call and now this film. Sam Worthington gives a solid performance as a frantic father desperately searching for his missing wife (Lily Rabe, wondrous as ever) and young daughter (Lucy Capri), when they disappear under mysterious circumstances at a county hospital the family goes to following a roadside medical emergency. He checks them in, they are rushed off downstairs to get MRI’s and… he never sees them again. All of the nurses, EMT’s and the charismatic duty doctor (always nice to see Stephen Tobolowsky) keep assuring him that he checked himself in alone and there never was a wife or a daughter in their hospital to begin with, which seems shady as fuck and causes him to launch a one man mission to find out what happened to them. There are some incredibly tense scenes of hospital espionage as he stealthily navigates corridors and stairwells, pursued by cops and security at every turn. The performances are great, the momentum is kept up nicely and it’s all very snazzy… but like I said, this one jerked my chain a few too many times as far as plot turns go and by the end I felt disappointed, exploited as a viewer and downright hostile at the experience overall. Is this guy just a lunatic and imagining he had a wife and kid, or are the hospital staff actually hiding something sinister? Well, the film waffles back and forth in embarrassingly melodramatic and implausible fashion between the two possible outcomes and when it comes time to level with us their way of going about it feels cheap, lurid and unfair to its lead, which is especially unfortunate for poor Worthington who *finally* gives a terrific performance and ends up betrayed by the script that doesn’t properly do the character justice. The fact that this is well made makes its glaring drawbacks all the more frustrating: if it were simply a shittily crafted film I could have just three pointer line tossed it into the trashcan, so to speak. But I enjoyed much of it from a style and tone aspect, so it makes the lack of proper backbone in story just sting way more. Meh.

-Nate Hill

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