Released: 9th March
Seen: 22nd June
Sometimes when trying to pick a movie to review, the choice can be made as easily as “It was a cheap purchase on Google Play and looked halfway interesting” and that’s how the movie Shattered was first chosen. On the surface it should be at least somewhat interesting, it stars terminally fascinating performer John Malkovich, incredible young superstar Cameron Monaghan and personal adored favourite Frank Grillo. That trio alone should make for a fascinating and fun movie just on pure charm factor alone… but charm can only do so much, you still need to have story and characters and that’s kind of where Shattered starts developing some serious cracks.
Shattered follows tech millionaire and soon-to-be divorcee Chris Decker (Cameron Monaghan) who is still going through the final steps of his divorce from his wife Jamie (Sasha Luss). Being a fresh divorcee Chris does what a lot of men do, picks up a random blonde woman named Sky (Lilly Krug) and takes her home for sexy times which is the start of their relationship.
This relationship gets an interesting fork in the road when Chris is assaulted and has one of his legs broken… and then develops an even sharper fork when it turns out that Sky might not actually be into Chris in a romantic way but more in an “I want you dead and I want your money” way. Chaos ensues, assorted side characters turn up and we wait for things to get interesting which is a thing that will never happen.
Right off the bat Shattered just never gives us any time to really give a damn about Chris or really anyone involved. He’s in bed with Sky in about 15 minutes and the torture’s begun by 20, none of the time being used to make us even care for him even a little. We barely even get to know him, important things aren’t set up for later, we’re just kind of dumped off with this kind of boring character and watch as bad things happen to him. It might help if his captor was so insane that it was fascinating to watch but they’re not, they’re just mindlessly cruel and stupid.
It’s hard not to mentally compare this to something like Misery, another film about a well-off man being put in a wheelchair and tortured by someone who promised to care for him… except Misery gave those characters an interesting dynamic, intense scenes of high drama, great performances and serious depth while Shattered just kind of pretends that it’s doing those without actually doing it. This is a film that tries to have its lead character dramatically say “I loved you, why are you doing this to me” which doesn’t work when the only relationship we’ve seen is them the entire movie is them fucking twice and sipping a glass of wine.
What’s also not helped is how Shattered doesn’t feel like a complete narrative, it feels like scraps of other movies that got retrofitted together in order to create this film. We have the opening bit of Misery, then we have Malkovich do a weird bit as the creepy neighbour, then Grillo is there for a short bit of Bonnie and Clyde to happen, then there’s just the thing with Chris’ original family and none of it naturally fits together. You can almost see the parts where they just slammed these random ideas together and barely stitched them together. It also never bothers to set things up, which would give the audience a sense of satisfaction or thrill when something happens later.
In general, Shattered is just kind of coasting on the charm offensive and offering little else… which is weird because it’s a film about a millionaire being tortured for the explicit reason that he’s a millionaire, in this time of economic hardship that should be a cathartic thing to experience but it never even rises to the level of quality torture porn by being so outrageous that it’s impossible to look away… it just exists, and it only barely manages to do that.