If you’ve never heard of Shattered, then you wouldn’t be the first. As far as I can tell the film was never released in theaters, under the Shattered title or the original Butterfly on a Wheel (which I personally think fits the film a bit better than the generic Shattered), which is curious considering the big names that are in it. Pierce Brosnan, Maria Bello and Gerard Butler are either well-known or making waves in Hollywood, so the silent release of this film comes as a bit of a surprise. Still, for what technically amounts to a straight-to-DVD release in the States, this film is quite an entertaining ride—even if you’ve seen a film like it before.
With a great job, a loving wife and daughter and promotions on the horizon, there’s little going wrong with Neil Randall (Gerard Butler) and his wife Abby (Maria Bello). It’s not until Neil is on his way to a retreat with his wife en tow to be dropped off for a shopping trip with her sister that things begin to take a turn. Hiding in the back seat of their Range Rover is Tom Ryan (Pierce Brosnan), a man who has a mysterious vendetta against the pair and one who is seemingly doing all he can to hurt their family and Neil’s career. With time running out to save their daughter, Neil and Abby are struggling to do everything Tom says in fear that he’ll order the captors of their daughter to kill her.
When the final minutes of the film close you want to say something along the lines of “well, I didn’t see that coming!” or “Wow! That was unexpected” or even “Huh…that was interesting.” In fact, there’s a good chance you will say those things at first, only to counter them with “Wait a minute, that was pretty screwed up” or “That was kind of extreme” or even “On second though, that was stupid as hell.” Shattered doesn’t leave the viewer with much to process when the credits roll, but it’s undeniable that up until the final minutes of the film it is quite the riveting spectacle, throwing in all of the mystery and tense moments that is required of a thriller such as Shattered.
As stated before the original title, which is even referenced in the film, really fit the film a bit better. Butterfly on a Wheel has a certain air of mystery about it and actually I might have accepted the film a bit more if it had stuck to what it originally set out to be. Even though that’s an extreme case of “judging a book by its cover”, expect perhaps in reverse effect, a film title can entice ones feelings towards it. Shattered, which follows a similar type of thriller attitude as the Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston Derailed film, now mirrors that film in title as well—a simple, one word title that really doesn’t say much to the viewer other than “Ohh this looks dramatic. Plus it’s got James Bond and that guy from 300 in it!”
Of course, and you know it was coming, there were shortcomings for this title. Not only did the film seem to take things a wee bit far in the end of the film when everything was revealed, but it also seemed highly unlikely. While the film ultimately revolves around a not-so-uncommon event (I won’t spoil it as the film is a worthwhile hour and a half time waster and the majority of the fun stems from simply not knowing what’s going on), the results the characters take because of it seem highly unlikely and are on the extreme side. Involving the daughter in the whole debacle seems to be the biggest leap, as that’s something that is really just pushing things.
As with the twist ending of Derailed, Shattered drops no clues as to where it’s going and instead “recaps” the previous events of the film to tell us how everything really went down. This is both aggravating and enjoyable to the viewer, as they’re happy to see the truth behind it all, but since we never knew any of this was going on, it makes it one of those completely unsolvable mysteries. Still, with Pierce Brosnan taking on the role of evil baddy this time around (although he flirted with that role a bit in The Matador) and Bello and Butler both throwing in completely believable performances, it’s hard to go wrong with Shattered for the majority of the film. Just be prepared to feel let down a bit towards the end—chances are you won’t ever want to see this film again, but it’s worth one viewing at least. Rent It.
Arriving in a standard DVD case and disc art that mirrors the cover, Shattered is strictly no frills in presentation. Navigating the menus is quick and easy (once it gets past its lengthy and annoying flashy intro) and the decent selection of extras make the disc a solid release all around. I will say that I’ve been reviewing a few Lions Gate titles in a row here and I’ve been consistently impressed with their overall DVD packages more than any other studio. There’s always a directors commentary and there’s always a decent selection of extras, no matter the quality of the film. They certainly know how to use the DVD format to its fullest extent.
First up we have the film itself which is presented with a solid video transfer and a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track. There aren’t too many surrounds used in the film, but it’s a solid mix regardless. Accompanying the audio is an additional Dolby Digital Audio and English and Spanish subtitles. Moving onto the extras we get a full length commentary with director Mark Barker and writer William Morrissey. A solid commentary all around, Barker and Morrissey manage to populate it without too many dry moments and keep their thoughts about the film on the lighter side.
Moving onto the other extras we have a making-of documentary with “Breaking Apart the Wheel” (17:56), an extra focusing on Brosnan’s role as the villain in “Hero to Villain” (4:03) and a series of deleted and alternate scenes (Deleted: Bracelet Scene [0:44], The Train Station [1:00]; Alternate: Alternate Intro [2:44], Tom’s Son [1:22], Police Procedures [0:41]) that really don’t add or subtract from the film in any way.
Overall the DVD package is solid, but only worth watching if you really enjoyed the film. In the end there’s nothing original or truly exciting about Shattered, but it’s a fun ride for what it’s worth—just think of it as a roller coaster that, after getting off, makes you sick. It may have been a fun ride, but the end results make you not want to ride it again. Rent It.
Shattered is now available on DVD.