Fractured is a film centred around a husband searching for his wife and daughter in a hospital when he suspects a check-up following an accident has become something more sinister. Most of the film hinges on whether his wife and daughter were ever admitted to the hospital, as many of the staff deny they have even seen them (despite us having seen them interact early in the film). As the story develops it keeps the audience wondering what exactly is going on and who, if anyone, is telling the truth.
Fractured does quite a good job of keeping the audience invested in the mystery of the plot, and it is only upon conclusion when much of that plot falls apart. Without going into any spoilers, the film is clearly setting up for two possible conclusions, and does a reasonable job at keeping both of these conclusions possible, however in having to keep both options open there are a lot of things which end unresolved. To be fair to the film a lot of the major plot events are explained, but a lot of background details which help build most of the tension in the film are not.
For a film which hinges so completely on one particular “true or false” type moment, the foreshadowing is pretty all over the place. During one sequence the characters have the same back and forth about three times, which goes something like:
“There’s one way we can clear this up for sure.”
*Scene occurs where they do the thing, but there’s one problem with the thing which is required to prove either side right*
“Looks like we have our answer.”
“This doesn’t prove anything!”
“Well, there’s one (other) way we can clear this up for sure…”
*Rinse and repeat a couple of times…*
Whilst this contributes to the rising stakes within the film, it does pose a lot of practical questions;
- How does one doctor have this much time to spend with one man?
- Why are the authority figures being so patient when they think they’ve proven their point?
- Why does every system have such a huge flaw in it?
Whilst all of these are clearly done to maintain the mystery of the plot, by the time the correct conclusion is revealed the way it answers all the questions within the film is simply unsatisfying. Oh, and why does the mental health consultant suddenly become a total asshole to the main character? That seems very against the job description. Plus, this is only after about 2 scenes together, and every other character has been patient with the husband for much longer.
It’s disappointing that what seems like a well-crafted 90-minute mystery falls apart in the final 10 minutes by raising so many practical questions, and a few plot holes. I will say that I did appreciate that the film felt like it was building up to an action-movie sequence for a long time but, whilst it eventually did, most of the film took a mature and respectful approach to handling a complicated and stressful situation. Again, there are a handful of plot holes here, but the film didn’t throw a punch until it had no other way to show how both potential conclusions were made possible as it revealed which one was correct.
But enough about the plot, the acting in the film is… fine. During the film I knew the acting wasn’t anything spectacular, but the characters felt real enough given that they were trying to find a balance between the two possible conclusions (which significantly changed many characters intents). In hindsight, much of the acting was actually quite wooden, especially given the way in which the conclusion was revealed.
A lot of lines are clearly written as “worldbuilding” lines, but they come across as forced and don’t actually build anything. Everything you see in the film is designed as some form of foreshadowing or detail to be relevant later, so when the occasional item occurs simply to flesh out the world it feels out of place. A couple of times a detail gets referenced back to as if the film is saying “remember that?” and with so much foreshadowing it’s confusing when these call-backs turn out to be nothing, they just wanted you to remember it. As a standalone film it doesn’t need to do any worldbuilding, it’s nice to feel like a film exists in a fully-realised world, but it isn’t necessary. The entire (film) world revolves around the husband / main character, so it makes sense to have very little worldbuilding, the plot is the world for the sake of this film; which is why these throwaway lines and details are so confusing in hindsight, the film wants to ride the line between fact and fiction and these moments just feel out of place.
I’ve not even touched on cinematography. It’s pretty basic, there’s a couple of shots which demonstrate where most of the cinematography budget went, but on the whole it’s unremarkable. It’s not bad, it’s just not interesting either.
I’m going to have to get a little spoiler-y, as this has been incredibly hard to write without spoilers – I’ve tried to be vague, but SKIP TO THE END OF THE RED TEXT IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS for Fractured:
A lot of plot decisions, character lines, and background details, specifically lead you down one of the possible conclusions, or at least specifically keep that option open; and when it is revealed that the other possible conclusion was actually the correct one, many of these moments make incredibly little sense as there’s not really any reason for them to have happened given the reality of the situation. I understand the need to maintain the mystery, but that’s what makes most of the foreshadowing in this film pretty poor – that it isn’t foreshadowing, it’s just a thing that happened which really shouldn’t have happened given the films ending. The best bits of foreshadowing in this film are not explained in the final act, not noticeable as foreshadowing until the film has ended, and require some clever interpretation to realise.
Fractured has a lot of interesting ideas in it, but the conclusion leaves so many decisions within the film feeling so unsatisfying that it is difficult to recommend this film. Don’t get me wrong, there are far worse films out there, but this film feels so “average. As a result, I’d only really recommend it if you wanted to understand what I’m talking about (it’s only 1h40 long) or are interested in cinema enough that you want to see how a poorly done conclusion takes a film from above average to below average.
- Cinematography – 5/10
- Plot – 4/10
- Acting – 5/10
- Script – 4/10
- Enjoyment* – 6/10
OVERALL – 4.8/10
*Enjoyment is a personal measure of how much I enjoyed the film, more of a “gut feeling” than the empirical approach I try to take with the other ratings.