Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I do enjoy a nice twisty thriller and 'Shattered', originally titled ‘Butterfly on a Wheel’ is certainly a nice twisty thriller. It may cause one to stretch the boundaries of one’s belief at times, particularly after the movie has ended, but it is nice little thriller, especially considering that these types of movies are getting made with way less frequency, which makes me sad.

King Leonidas himself Gerard Butler is high flying ad man Neil Randall. Is there any other type of job in movies other than advertising? And prostitution? Anyways, Neil is quite the go-getter closing deals left and right, kicking the opposition’s ass and is the blood smelling shark that his boss is just crazy about. Neil even kicks his own partner Jerry’s ass (Nicholas Lea) by not even letting the man get a sniff of his success. Neil’s phenomenal good fortune continues at home with his wonderful six year old daughter Sophie and his beautiful wife Abby (Maria Bello). Abby, once a promising photographer, has elected to support her husband’s career and stay at home to raise their daughter though we can see she still has remnants of desire for her old career.

It’s Friday night and Neil is getting set for a big time weekend at his boss’s cabin where he will probably be offered a partnership in the firm and Abby is going for a night out with her girlfriend leaving young Sophie with a baby sitter. Something about the sitter doesn’t sit quite right with Abby, but Neil assures her that everything is fine and into the Range Rover they go. Unfortunately everything is not to fine as a crazed gunman in the back seat reveals himself as they take off to their destinations. Tom (Pierce Brosnan) is one pretty menacing dude sticking guns in peoples faces and informing the couple that the baby sitter works for him and if they don’t do exactly as he tells them, little Sophie is dead. Tom forces the couple to do all sorts of insane tasks, most of

them time sensitive, with the threat of the death of their child always looming should they be just a moment late. No matter what the frantic couple tries to do to end this madness, particularly Neil, Tom is always one step ahead letting them know how stupid they are, but still keeping the 'what' and 'why' he’s doing to them a complete mystery. Eventually the mystery of why this hostile but clever man is doing these wicked things to this seemingly perfect couple will be revealed to us, but to tell anymore would give away all the twistiness and we can’t very well have that.

Well, I kind of figured out part of the mystery about halfway through, but that’s neither here or there because I still enjoyed the movie quite a bit as most of the joy in this film is in watching the performances of its leads. Pierce Brosnan continues his fine stretch of Post James Bond performances (The Matador, Serafim Falls) this time using an Irish accent... oh wait, he’s Irish isn’t he? Well, this time I guess he speaks like he does when he’s at home, and supplies the mysterious Tom with very little compassion and plenty of venom and he gives you no clue as to his reasons why, though his reactions to certain situations become fairly obvious when you discover his motivations, and Brosnan plays it well. The Scottish Gerard Butler would have been better served speaking like he does when he’s at home as his accent faded in out of character leaving me confused as to whether he’s supposed to actually be Scottish or a Chicago native. Other than that, Butler’s portrayal of the arrogant self confidant Neil and his eventual descent into a withering blathering helpless shell was fairly convincing. Director Mike Barker also crafts a film that proceeds at a reasonable and believable arc with good pacing and a great look to it. Of course anyone who has seen the acting work of one Maria Bello knows that she brings an edge to any character she portrays and her performance here in ‘Shattered’ is no different as she brings a defiant intensity and pain to a character who normally would be just be another typical damsel in distress waiting to be rescued.

Now once everything is revealed to us and we begin to play what we have seen back in our minds eye, the events that would have to have taken place don’t hold up so well under scrutiny and the level of belief which we had to suspend earlier becomes even greater in hindsight, but again we won’t spoil it and allow you to experience the twisty goodness yourself and draw up your own conclusions.

Ultimately though, since I generally enjoy these kinds of twisty crime capers, ‘Shattered’ is a fine entry into what I see as a dying genre, punctuated by outstanding actors and very good direction leading to very fine time at the movies.

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