Fractured fails to stray from classic thriller tropes

Roisin Maguire

From the onset, there is a sense of foreboding in the new Netflix thriller, “Fractured”. This is possibly due to the fact that the plot of the movie seems very familiar to “Shutter Island” and “Flight Plan”, where actress Jodie Foster searches for her missing daughter on a flight.

This queasy feeling in your stomach is what hooks the viewer in from the beginning where Ray, played by Sam Worthington, searches for his family in the hospital where his daughter was being treated for a possible head injury.

The action starts immediately as Ray and his wife Joanne, played by Lily Rabe, are returning from an unsuccessful Thanksgiving family dinner and are arguing in the car with their young daughter, Peri, in the back seat.

Once they stop at a gas station, Peri is involved in an accident where she falls from a height and is rushed to hospital in a very unstable car journey. This is where we see the first hint of Ray’s mental decline.

Ray’s daughter is sent for a scan downstairs, accompanied by his wife and he is told to wait on the ground floor, however after hours of waiting and questioning staff in the hospital, his daughter and wife are nowhere to be found.

It’s up to the viewers to then decide whether Ray is losing his mind and his wife and child are not in the hospital or if they’re on the side of Ray and believe that the hospital really have kidnapped them for some gruesome experiment.

The frustration between Ray and unhelpful members of staff is how director, Brad Anderson, conveys a sense of panic and the feeling that Ray is running out of time.

However, the movie’s downfall is how repetitive it is as Ray has to account his ordeal multiple times to various members of staff and to the police. This same repetition is seen when Ray was trying to get his insurance details sorted out before his daughter was seen by any doctors. The movie is quite easy to figure out just before the big finale, which is another downfall.

Worthington’s performance makes up for this as his portrayal of a man in a state of mental decline was spot on. Before the end of the movie, the audience can see some small details in Ray’s behaviour that makes us think that he is imagining everything.

However, with Anderson’s careful planning, the audience is soon reassured that the hospital is in fact to blame so viewers often go back and forth on their opinion of Ray many times during the movie.

Anderson also directed “The Machinist” (2004), another psychological thriller. His work is all very similar, which is dark and mysterious. No matter how familiar the plot seems or how you can guess the ending, the films still seems to grip the viewer in and leaves them thinking that maybe their prediction of how things will plan out is actually incorrect.

“Fractured” is a slightly above average movie however its saving grace was the direction of Anderson, the impressive cast and the performance of Sam Worthington.

Roisin Maguire

Image Credit: Netflix