Brief synopsis: Driving back from a family gathering, visiting his wife, Joanne’s, parents, Ray stops off to allow their daughter to use the bathroom. Whilst at the rest stop, their daughter, Perri gets frightened by a dog and falls, injuring her arm.
Ray takes her to the local hospital and the mother and daughter get taken for a scan. Ray goes to the waiting area and falls asleep. When he wakes up he goes looking for his wife and daughter, the reception has no record of his daughter. The only record they have is for him being admitted earlier in the day. Ray tries to find his family.
Is it any good?: Um, full disclosure, I am not a fan of Sam Worthington. It’s not that he is a bad actor or even an irritating screen presence, it is just that he seems to be in awful films or films I just do not find particularly good.
Hollywood seems desperate to make Worthington a star. He has been in one of the biggest films of all time, Avatar, but that film is not, in my opinion, as great as some would have one believe. Fractured is not very good but it is kind of interesting.
Spoiler territory: Ray (Sam Worthington) is driving his wife, Joanne (Lily Rabe) and their daughter, Peri (Lucy Capri) home from Joanne’s parents. Ray and Joanne are arguing. Their marriage is falling apart as Joanne does not feel that Ray is the man she married anymore.
In the backseat, Peri is playing with an electronic game. She interrupts her parents when her game fails because the batteries run out. Joanne tells her that they will pick up some batteries later. Peri then wants to go to the toilet, so they pull into a rest stop. As Peri goes to the bathroom, Ray goes into the store to pick up a drink for his wife and some batteries. He gets himself a coffee and grabs a couple of miniature whiskey bottles.
The clerk (Muriel Hogue) in the store watches himself suspiciously. When he places the items on the counter and tries to pay with a card, she tells him that she only takes cash. Ray does not have enough cash for all of the items. He puts the batteries back.
He returns to the car where his family are waiting. Peri is in the backseat again but she says that she has lost her compact. “Is it under her seat?” Joanne asks. She does not know. She thinks she might have left it in the bathroom. Joanne tells Ray to check under the backseat whilst she goes and checks the bathroom.
As Peri stands outside, Ray checks the backseat area. He spills his coffee on the seat and begins to try and clean it up. A curious Peri goes walkabout. She sees a stray dog and is frightened, shouting for her father. Ray turns around and sees the dog and tries to calm Peri down as she backs up towards some foundations behind her.
Ray tries to scare the dog and Peri falls into the foundations. Ray goes leaping after her. He wakes up to find Joanne screaming frantically over a prone Peri. She comes over to a catatonic Ray, hitting him and screaming at him. He pushes her to one side and turns away. He turns back a moment later and Joanne is back with Peri. Peri is awake but has hurt her arm.
Ray takes charge. He will get her to the hospital. At the emergency room, Ray struggles to find someone to look after his daughter. Joanne thanks him for getting them to the hospital so quickly. She likes his take-charge attitude. Ray is called to see the administrative officer(Dorothy Carroll). She wants to know if he has insurance. He does. She asks him about organ donation. Joanne says no; they do not want to sign up for organ donation.
She checks Ray’s insurance. They do not take his type of insurance. His insurance was attached to his previous employ. She asks about the prior dependent on his insurance, Abby Monroe. It was his wife who died eight years before. He asks if he can pay cash. She tells him she will have to check. That is fine.
Nurse Anne (Stephanie Sy) comes to take Peri to the doctor, doctor Berthram (Stephen Tobolowsky). As they walk through the ward, the nurse tells them about a head-on collision that involved several people, with multiple injuries. The doctor turns up and looks at Peri. He recommends a CAT scan, just to make sure her head is okay. He warns Ray that the procedure is expensive. Ray tells him it is okay, he would do anything for his family.
An orderly (Erik Athavale) comes to take Peri for the scan. They take the lift down to a lower floor. The orderly tells Ray and Joanne that only one of them can come into the scan area. Ray tells Joanne that he will wait. He returns to the waiting area. Some hours later, Ray wakes up. He goes to the reception to ask if his daughter’s scan is finished yet. The receptionist (Natalie Bailey), tells him there is no record of her.
The receptionist tells him that the entire staff has changed shift and the nurses and doctors he saw are off work. Ray goes looking for his family. He is collared by the hospital security, Jeff (Chad Bruce), and Doctor Lucado (Christopher Sigurdson). Lucado asks him what has happened and Ray recounts his story. The doctor checks the scan log.
There is no record of Peri having had a scan. Ray becomes aggressive. Jeff sprays mace in his face and nurse Anne administers a sedative. They put him in a room to hold him. Ray finds a couple of epi-pens and injects them in an attempt to counteract the sedative. He breaks out of the room.
Ray escapes the hospital and gets two police officers, Childes (Lauren Cochrane) and Griggs (Shane Dean) to look into his family’s disappearance. The two officers return to the hospital with Ray. They get the staff to cooperate with Ray’s assertions, making them call doctor Berthram.
Ray mentions his ex-wife Abby. Jeff says they can clear up the confusion by checking the surveillance tapes. They watch the tapes and there is no evidence of Joanne or Peri. The cameras only have one angle.
Ray begins to get agitated and another doctor, doctor Jacobs (Adjoa Andoh) comes to speak to Ray. She is a psychologist. She gets Ray to take them back to the rest stop where the accident happened. The police are there with sniffer dogs. They find a large blood stain and doctor Jacobs speculates that he actually killed his family and his mind came up with the story to protect him.
Officer Childes goes to arrest him. He takes her gun and points it at doctor Jacobs. He locks all of the police and the doctor up in a room and steals a police car, heading back to the hospital. He heads down to the basement. He encounters Jeff again and they fight in the lift. He ends up killing Jeff. Ray searches the basement level and finds doctor Lucado and some others in an operating theatre. He tells them to stop.
He sees Peri on the operating table and finds Joanne in a wheelchair nearby. He goes to take them out but is attacked by one of the nurses in the theatre. He shoots at a light, causing an explosion. He escapes from the theatre, taking his family with him. Another nurse tries to stop him and he shoots him in the leg.
Ray puts his family in his car and drives away. Ray’s mind recalls the true events of the day. Hid daughter died with the fall and his push on his wife killed her, impaling her on a rod. When he went into the theatre and took who he thought was his daughter, it was a young man who had been caught up in the car crash earlier in the day. A becalmed Ray drives into the sunrise. The end.
Fractured is an okay film. Unfortunately, the plot is spoiled ten minutes into the film by some poor direction, giving the entire Fight Club-esque plot away early in proceedings. Burdened with that knowledge—the film really could not have gone in any other direction—the film was just a laborious watch, waiting for the less-than-shocking reveal.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Worthington is a fine actor and, truthfully, I have nothing against the man but he really cannot pick a good film. Yes, he has been in some successful films but good films? Not really.
Because of the cack-handed way the plot is spoiled, the pace of the film is affected with one watching just to check if one’s suspicions are correct, instead of watching the story unfold. I cannot adequately impart just how much of an issue this is for the film. It just made the viewing experience pretty redundant.
The rest of the cast is okay, the acting good but pointless. Worthington’s Ray, whose is highly strung and understandably anxious, is met with anger and obstinance at every juncture, with only Andoh’s Jacobs’ working out that some sort of trauma was what had him acting in such a manner.
The shooting of the film is quite good, lensed beautifully. There are some disorientating effects and oft-kilter shots to add to the, blatantly obvious, splintering psyche of Ray. The music is, though not overwhelming, pretty one-toned, always foreboding and threatening.
Some may enjoy Fractured, even with the easily seen plot twist. It is not an unwatchable film and the acting is believable even if the story is not. Written by Alan B McElroy and directed by Brad Anderson, their creative decisions prevent an okay film from being a good or exciting thriller.
Fractured is a promising idea that is let down by poor editorial decisions.