Movie Review: “Fractured”
Ray Monroe (Sam Worthington) is taking his wife, Joanne (Lily Rabe), and daughter, Peri (Lucy Capri), to visit family for Thanksgiving. However, when Peri falls and breaks her arm, Ray and Joanne rush her to the nearest hospital. Once there, they take a look at her arm, but also determine that her fall may have resulted in a head injury. Thus, the doctor advises sending Peri in for some scans as a precaution. Only one parent is allowed to go with Peri during the scans, so Joanne goes in, leaving Ray to wait, anxiously, in the waiting room. When his family have still not returned hours later, Ray goes to the front desk hoping for some answers.
Ray is then shocked to discover that the hospital has no record of his wife and daughter having ever been in the hospital. He does not know what happened to his wife and daughter, but he knows he saw them go down the hall for x-rays. He also knows that his family would not leave the hospital without him. Wherever they are, Ray fears they may be in great danger, and he begins to suspect that the hospital has done something sinister to his family and are trying to cover it up.
The Pros & Cons
Ray Monroe (+6pts)
Joanne Monroe (-3pts)
The Cops & Hospital Staff (+5pts)
The Therapist (-3pts)
The Climax (+4pts)
The Ending (-3pts)
Pro: Ray Monroe (+6pts)
This was one of those movies where you, the viewer, are not supposed to know, for sure, if the main character is sane. The whole point of this story is to play with the idea that Ray Monroe is either telling the truth, or he is crazy. The filmmakers did a really good job of making either side believable, and Sam Worthington did a convincing job in the role. Throughout the movie, I had my guess as to what the truth was, but the filmmakers did a good job of making me uncertain.
What was so interesting about the mystery was that, as the movie progressed further, both possibilities seemed equally far fetched while also being equally believable. However, I knew it was going to go in one of those two ways. Sam Worthington then did a really good job of making me buy the character's sincerity. Even though one of the possible outcomes would result in him being guilty, you truly feel for the guy, because from his perspective he is just trying to save his family. This was an interesting character, and I imagine this was a tough role to play convincingly, but Sam Worthington did a great job with the role.
Con: Joanne Monroe (-3pts)
This character was not in the movie much, because finding her and Ray's daughter was the main objective of the movie, but I thought she was annoying whenever she was on-screen. The way she responded to things, the looks she gave, and the things she said, all came across as really weird. They were not weird in a thriller-mystery sort of way. Rather, the things the character said and did seemed illogical, or out-of-character. Some of these things are explained later in the movie, but others are not. It was obvious that the filmmakers wanted this character to give the viewer a weird vibe, even when it did not make any plot-related sense to do so. The result was a character that did not work for me, with a performance that felt forced and character actions that made no sense.
Pro: The Cops & Hospital Staff (+5pts)
With about a 50-50 chance that Ray was crazy, the cops ended up being the more relatable characters in this movie. The were trying to get to the bottom of what was going on, like the viewer, and they were an unbiased party, also like the viewer. This meant that they, more or less, behaved as the viewer would in their situation, making both of them likable. Were they well developed characters? No, we actually learned absolutely nothing about them, but they were easy to get behind.
Then there was the hospital staff, who were another full set of effective characters. The whole point of this movie was that you are supposed to be unsure of Ray's sanity. In order for that to work, the viewer needed to believe that the hospital staff could either be completely innocent or disturbingly evil. The viewer needed to believe the hospital staff was either of these two things, and the two options needed to seem equally possible to the viewer. This would not work if the script surrounding these characters was not written well and carefully, and it would not work if the performers did a poor job of selling it, so I was relieved when I was able to buy both possibilities. The actors did not give the correct possibility away too soon, nor did they oversell the incorrect possibility, which would have made a massive plot hole. From the writing, to the performances, everything about the characters that made up the hospital staff was executed effectively.
Con: The Therapist (-3pts)
This character was the exception to the rule, of the movie having well-written, effective characters who made up the hospital staff members. The performance from the actress who played this character gave me bad vibes whenever she was on screen, but that was not what I thought did not work about the character. It was what the character was doing that seemed out-of-place. It did not make any sense for her to get as involved as she did, other than for the writers to attempt to misdirect the viewer. In a movie filled with effective performances, and effectively written side-characters, the therapist was a clear exception. Fortunately, she played a relatively minor role in the movie.
Pro: The Climax (+4pts)
Without giving anything away, I was totally into the climax of this movie. The road to the climax was, for the most part, slow, but it kept me invested. I was completely on the fence about which way I thought the movie was going to go, and by the climax, I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what Ray was going to discover. I know someone who has seen this movie, who claims to have known exactly what was going on from the very beginning, and they claim to have been completely certain of it for the entire movie. My experience could not have been further from theirs, so I am curious to know what your experience was if you have seen the movie. Regardless, we both agreed that the climax of this movie had both of us totally invested in what was happening.
Con: The Ending (-3pts)
The ending of the movie felt a little cheap to me. I am going to choose my words carefully, and will keep this vague to avoid spoilers, but I thought the ending could have been stronger. The climax of the movie delivered, and the ending had another twist that seemed to undermine the climax. I am all for twist endings, but if this is the direction that the filmmakers wanted to go in, the story ended too early.
There was more story to tell, regarding what happened after the last shot of the movie. The filmmakers wanted one final twist, but they did not seem to want to follow through with it. This made it feel like a last minute, cheap addition to the movie. It was almost as if the filmmakers had initially ended the movie after the climax, then decided the movie needed something more, so they slapped this little twist on there, even though it unnecessarily raised questions that would never get answered.
Grade: B- (81pts)
I really liked the premise of this story. A concerned mother and father bring their daughter to the hospital for x-rays, and while the father waits in the lobby, he begins to panic when his family does not return and when the hospital staff seem to have no record of them being there. This brings about two possibilities. Either the main character, Ray (Sam Worthington), is crazy, or he is telling the truth.
The cast did a great job of balancing these two possibilities, making both seem believable, and the plot was written really well to support them. I had my guess as to what I thought the end result would be, but I was very far from certain. The movie kept me guessing, which allowed me to go along for the ride. I did have a few minor issues with the movie, however. Joanne was played in a really annoying, and unnaturally mysterious way, the character of the hospital therapist was written poorly, and the ending of the movie felt forced and incomplete. That being said, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, finding it to be a pretty decent thriller.