Fractured (2019) Netflix Movie Review

Fractured is a 2019 American thriller film, directed by Brad Anderson, from a screenplay by Alan B. McElroy. It stars Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Stephen Tobolowsky, Adjoa Andoh, and Lucy Capri.

The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 22, 2019. It was released on October 11, 2019, by Netflix.

Summary

The film follows the story of a husband, wife and daughter, who experienced an incident during a trip. After the daughter is admitted to the hospital for treatment, the husband shortly passes out from exhaustion. Upon waking up, he realizes in horror that no one can corroborate or confirm his family’s hospital admission and medical history in the patient records, leading him to uncover a sinister conspiracy.

Plot diverges leaving the viewer to decide if in the end he retrieves his family from a sinister organ trafficking ring operating in the sub-basement and makes an escape or that Ray is experiencing visual hallucinations from psychological trauma resulting from the incident. The reality is that during the incident his daughter dies due to his negligence and Ray then accidentally kills his wife following an argument at the scene of the accident. Ray constructs a new reality in which both his wife and daughter are alive. This culminates in him kidnapping a hospital patient undergoing surgery and shooting a hospital doctor as he leaves the hospital with the patient. Ray truly believes that he is rescuing his wife and daughter, but the viewer sees that a dying patient lies across the rear passenger seats of his car, while his wife and daughter are lying dead in the trunk of the car.

WHAT IS THE FRACTURED PLOT TWIST?

Eventually, Ray gets the police involved to help him find his missing wife and child. When he and the detective retrace the scene where his daughter fell, the detective starts to question Ray as a suspect. She suggests to Ray that there was no dog when his daughter fell. She says that Ray threw a rock at his daughter in anger, causing her to fall off the ledge, and then killed his wife. She demands to know where the bodies are. While the detective describes this, we see the scene play out that way on screen. It’s confusing: Is that really what happened? Is Ray crazy? Or is the detective in on the plot against Ray, like the hospital staff?

The police start to arrest him, but then Ray glances up and sees the dog that scared his daughter. Aha! It did happen! Ray escapes and gets back to the hospital, where he finds his wife and daughter undergoing some kind of weird organ donation procedure. He kills the security guard, blows up the hospital room, and escapes with his wife and daughter alive! Hooray!

Except… wait, just kidding, it was all in his head, and none of that actually happened. Fooled ya!

Fracture-D17-0086.dng

HOW DOES FRACTURED END?

Are you guys ready for the real Fractured plot twist? It’s the one that the movie promised us wasn’t the plot twist at the end of Act 2! Like the detective said, it turns out Ray killed his wife and daughter. When he saw what he had done, he went crazy, and his mind made up a story that his daughter didn’t die. But in real life, he stashed his daughter and wife’s bodies in his trunk, then drove to the hospital. Ray showed up at the hospital alone, which is why the staff was acting so weird around him.

When Ray broke into the hospital at the end, he didn’t help his wife and daughter escape—he stole a random person that the doctors were operating on. Now that random guy is in the back of Ray’s car as he drives into the sunset, convulsing. Fun!

WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND THE FRACTURED ENDING? DOES THE FRACTURED ENDING MAKE SENSE?

It’s very Alfred Hitchcock, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as eloquently done as Psycho or The Lady Vanishes. I don’t think it’s that deep, and I don’t think it particularly makes sense. If Ray’s daughter and wife were never actually the hospital, then who was the doctor talking to when he told her she had the most beautiful eyes? Did Ray just imagine that entire thing? Which parts are real, and which parts aren’t? It’s impossible to tell, and thus doesn’t make for a very satisfying plot twist. Oh, well. Onto the next Netflix thriller!

My Personal Thoughts

Ray Monroe (Sam Worthington) is traveling with his wife Joanne (Lily Rabe) and daughter Peri (Lucy Capri) when tragedy strikes. They stop off at a gas station and Peri wanders away to look at a part of the site that’s under construction. She’s startled by a stray dog, who moves toward her as Peri backs up to the edge of the construction site. Ray turns around to see her, throwing a rock at the dog as Peri falls backward, landing on the concrete below. As Ray jumps to save her, he also falls. He wakes up in a daze with Joanne yelling at him, and the trio quickly speeds off to a nearby hospital.

From the minute they arrive, “Fractured” turns into a leaden commentary on our broken health care system. Despite Peri likely having at least a broken bone and possibly much worse with internal bleeding, the hospital workers are cold and downright cruel. After a long wait, some workers finally agree to see Peri, and a kind doctor (Stephen Tobolowsky) appears to change their fate. Peri and Joanne are taken to the basement for imaging, and Ray waits … and waits … and waits.

And then “Fractured” becomes a riff on “The Lady Vanishes” (or “Flightplan” for modern audiences), in which we have to decide if Ray is crazy or if everyone at the hospital is conspiring to make him so. The receptionist and doctors claim that Ray came in alone with his own head injury, which was then treated. There was no Peri. There was no Joanne. Most of “Fractured” consists of Ray trying to convince authorities that his wife and daughter are being held captive somewhere in the hospital, possibly even being used for an illegal organ donor operation. 

FRACTURED (2019)

It becomes numbingly repetitive. What’s most startling is how little energy Anderson and company bring to it visually. For “Fractured” to work, it needs to feel like a waking nightmare. Anyone who has been in a big hospital knows there’s something inherently creepy about those long hallways down which it’s easy to believe loved ones could literally disappear. But there’s so little visual personality in “Fractured” that it’s startling. No sense of dread or atmosphere. It’s almost a single-setting piece, and that setting is flat and dull. Start to consider what someone like John Carpenter or David Cronenberg would have done with this space and concept and you’ll realize how much is missing here. The script by Alan McElroy, the man behind the “Wrong Turn” series, isn’t exactly blazing with sharp dialogue, and so without any interesting production design elements and forgettable, flat characters, we’re left with nothing to hold onto except the inevitable twist.

And then that twist comes like a clanging bell, and all the stuff that didn’t make sense before makes even less sense now, and you realize this whole movie has been a cheat. Roger Ebert notoriously panned “The Usual Suspects” because he felt manipulated by it. I don’t necessarily agree with him there, but I can relate more after watching “Fractured.” 

Criticism

You May Not Care About Anything Which Goes On

The primary issue with Fractured is that it relies on the idea that a cute child going missing will draw you in. That and the idea, despite how terrible a man’s marriage is, and how his wife, Jo, seems like someone he is staying with just for the sake of the child, that should make you care about them suddenly going missing.

However, it doesn’t. What doesn’t help is that Ray is so dry that spending time with him, for over an hour, wondering if he is crazy, and watching him attempt to find his family, is dull. Almost to the point where you wonder if you need to have an appreciation for slow-moving films to appreciate this or not mind shallow tricks to keep you engaged and an ending that is meant to shock and awe.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

This is a movie dancing on the border of being an acquired taste. Mostly due to there being little to no reason to invest in Ray, his family, or his story, and the sole thing that might be Fractured’s saving grace is the fact so many get involved you feel like there might be a cover-up. Yet, with minimal reasons put in place to believe that, it makes the truth not feel like it pays off your commitment but feel cheap.

I will rate this movie 8/10.

Directed byBrad Anderson
Produced by Neal Edelstein Mike Macari Paul Schiff
Written byAlan B. McElroy
Starring Sam Worthington Lily Rabe Stephen Tobolowsky Adjoa Andoh Lucy Capri
CinematographyBjörn Charpentier
Edited byRobert Mead
Production
companies
Koji Productions Crow Island Films Macari/Edelstein Paul Schiff Productions
Distributed byNetflix
Release date September 22, 2019 (Fantastic Fest) October 11, 2019 (United States)
Running time100 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
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