Customer Reviews: Shattered
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on October 4, 2007
Please keep in mind that I am one of a handful of people that saw this film ON THE BIG SCREEN IN A MOVIE THEATER instead of just on TNT, butchered for television, with commercial interruptions. It is much better the way it was intended to be seen. After seeing the film twice ON THE BIG SCREEN during its limited release, these are my comments:

Imagine a Yuppie Gerard Butler. Great looking. Confident. Successful. Gorgeous wife. Beautiful sweet daughter. The perfect life in upscale suburban Chicago. Enter mysterious menacing stalking stranger and their worst nightmare begins. He threatens the life of their daughter as insurance for their obedience to his demands.

Sound like the typical 'kidnapped kid' flick? It's not.

It's taut, suspenseful, edge of your seat storytelling combined with good solid performances by all, especially Bello and Brosnan. Butler is very good, but I've seen him better. I believe he filmed this on the heels of the grueling demands of 300 and it shows a bit. He may not be at the very top of his game here, but he still performs well.

Brosnan upped his credibility as an actor for me in this film. He played the menacing stranger perfectly. Just the right tone of voice and facial expressions, joined with his eyes and body language, spoke in unison to perfection in every scene. I'd really like to see more from him, he is a very good dramatic actor. I like him better as an older, mature man. More gritty, less suave.

Maria Bello is perfect as the mother held hostage by mother love and the need to protect her child at all costs.

I loved the score. Where you might expect a really intense, gritty score, this one opts for a quieter one with a hint of bluesy undertones and it works. It intensifies at the right moments, but never takes a front seat as often happens in thrillers. It melds with the action and helps makes each scene into an audiovisual, emotional emulsion.

In fact, the whole film is just quieter than one would expect, given what is usually served up with films of this genre. There are no car chases, no last minute rescues, no heroes. It never goes over the top. It has its feet on the ground and its eyes on what's human and real.

This film is no dud. Even though it had a very limited release, it is not the fault of the filmmakers or the actors. It is good movie-making. You may not think it's one of the best films you've ever seen, but there's a good chance you'll be satisfied that you got your money's worth. I give it a definite thumbs up.

Scale of 1-10? I give this an 8.

Warning: DON'T read much about this film. DON'T watch the trailer over and over. The less you know going in, the better your experience of it will be. Because of one seemingly innocuous remark made by someone who'd seen it, I guessed the ending about halfway through. I wasn't even trying. But things we hear stick in our minds whether we like it or not. I sincerely wish I had not guessed correctly. The rest of the film lost it's suspense for me.

Hint: This is a two timer. It's even better the second time.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 28, 2007
This is a true psychological suspense thriller where the viewer has NO idea of the twists and turns in this movie. I truly enjoyed watching it but I'm finding it very hard to review. About all I can write is that the focus of the movie is on a couple whose child is kidnapped. From there, you have to see the film, the kidnapper and his wishes and what develops. Prepare for surprises. If you like unpredictable suspense films, Pierce Brosnam (showing his age but still appealing) is excellent as are the other actors.

I can't write more about this because I'll give away the plot. You deserve to be surprised. Sit back and prepare to be thrilled.

I don't recall this one getting much publicity or even its appearance in theaters so it really took me by surprise. In the film, a couple leaves home for a brief respite with their child in the care of a sitter. From there, the suspense builds, along with the news that their child has been kidnapped. I will only add that you need to pay close attention because what you see isn't always what you think.
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on March 28, 2008
Yes, I know it was actually released in the theaters, but it was not well-received and jumped to cable and rental venues in remarkable speed. I'm usually very cautious regarding films in which this happens, but I loved the three stars in this film so much that I just had to take a chance on this film and I'm glad I did.

I honestly can't reveal anything about the plot because, contrary to some reviewers on here, this is a solid mystery story that is a bit low-key and low-budget, hence, my "TV" film headline. The film is a lot of fun as Pierce Brosnan, previously known as James Bond, gives an outstanding performance as "the bad guy" in this film who takes great pride in torturing a couple that is well-played by Butler, The Phantom of the Opera and Bello, World Trade Center. I don't think his fans like him in such a role and that may be why this film suffered at the box-office just as his other excellently played bad guy role in The Matador which is definitely worth your viewing. Add in a low-budget feel to the film and I can see why some bulked at it, but it is so much better than most will expect if they give it a shot. Failure at the box-office does not mean the film is a failure or of no quality, just as great success at the box-office is no guarantee of a pleasurable experience either.

Well, I don't want to go on further and inadvertently give up any information that will lead people to figure out the mystery in this film, but it is very clever and you will be very perplexed until the end when you finally discover just why Brosnan's character is angry at this couple that he does the outlandish things that he does. It does stretch credibility at times, and the story is a bit contrived (like any mystery really is anyhow), but the performances and twists and turns of the plot should keep you glued to the screen.
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on October 5, 2007
This is one nail-biting psychological thriller. You never know until the very end where this film is taking you! All three actors have you pulled in from the "get-go!" It is the most thought provoking film to come out in a long while! Everyone has a different opinion of who is right and who is that! Pierce Brosnan and Maria Bello are wonderful as the scorned spouses! What can I say about Gerard Butler.....he is absolutely mesmerizing in this....from the cocky guy in the beginning of the film to the beaten/broken down emotionally drained guy at the end! The more I watch this....the better it gets!

Pat Marcum
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VINE VOICEon December 28, 2007
I just watched this movie and enjoyed it to the very last second. Not going to give any plot points away here but these three leads are terrific and goodness knows Butler is white hot after 300Spartans so why didn't this get a big screen proper release? Oh well...its a terrific thriller..reminded me a bit of a Hitchcock. Great movie for a cold evening...highly recommended. Lovely widescreen presentation and nice bonus features...solid DVD.
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on May 12, 2008
"Shattered" is another example of why independent films are so essential; with a smaller budget, characterization and plot is emphasized, and when first-rate talent on both sides of the camera is involved, you have something really special!

Not that this thriller is without faults; the resolution is a letdown, and makes some of the earlier action seem somewhat illogical...but until this point, this is a wonderfully suspenseful drama, with three superb actors in the leads. Gerard Butler is a picture-perfect success, both at work, and at home, with a sexy, loving wife (Maria Bello, excellent as always) and young daughter. But when the couple is kidnapped on the highway by a sinister, sadistic stranger (Pierce Brosnan, effectively cast against 'type'), their lives are turned upside-down, revealing some devastating secrets.

Director Mike Barker has a real 'feel' for claustrophobic, dark settings, as well as vertigo-inducing heights, and "Shattered" is a roller-coaster suspense ride that is CERTAINLY worth watching, despite the resolution. I highly recommend it!
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on January 31, 2008
Going into Shattered I wasn't sure what to expect since the movie went direct to video. Just because a movie is DTV doesn't mean its bad there are many reasons for that; It could be the studio doesn't have the money to give a theatrical run or it could also be a movie that is tough to market it could be a great movie, but doesn't have mass appeal and than there is because the movie just isn't very good.

Seeing the cast list I should have known better; Maria Bello is an actress I quite like, while she may not be a household name she is well known enough not to go DTV and with Gerard Butler quite popular right now and of course Pierce Brosnan I should have known there was a reason this went DTV in the States when it has 3 known actors. But I still gave the movie a chance.

As a whole Shattered is by no means a bad movie. It's well acted and mostly well made, but what does this movie in is the clichés. That is the biggest problem here. Writer William Morrissey writes the standard suspense/thriller. A man takes a couple hostage and if they don't do what he says their daughter dies. That is one of the most over-used plots in not just film, but TV as well. How many times have we seen that concept done with a family member in danger? Of course there comes a point when one of the characters goes against the villain and he gives them another chance. The villain messes with his hostages and proceeds to shatter their lives.

Again we have seen this done so many times and done better for that matter. The audience is almost always one step ahead and you'll figure out most of the plot twists before they happen and that is pretty much never a good thing. William Morrissey doesn't write a bad script, just one that is very clichéd. Sometimes the movie can still be a fun ride, but not this time.

Director Mike Barker doesn't do a bad job, but more often than not his scenes lack any real suspense or tension. In fairness the script was very clichéd so there is only so much he could do, but even the directing is by the books. All his scenes seem like a rehash of other movies and he never really tries to mix things up. Shattered wasn't a badly directed movie, but again it was just too by the book. There was a couple of fairly decent suspense moments, but not enough to really make this movie anything, but about average.

About the only time Shattered does actually work well is the final act; there was some decent suspense and there is a pretty decent twist. First off you know Tom Ryan played by Pierce Brosnan has some kind of connection to the people he's messing with. That was the only thing I didn't figure out. The twist is hardly original, but it works well, but it's not that good a twist to salvage this movie.

Brosnan though gives an excellent and even creepy performance to bad he was stuck in such a clichéd movie. Gerard Butler as Neil Randall also gives a good, but typical performance and the problem was he wasn't all that likeable and becomes even less likeable in the final act. Actually when the final act rolls around you might find yourself rooting for Brosnan's character rather than Butler's. Maria Bello delivers an excellent performance, but her role was just too typical for this type of movie. But Bello, handles the role well and is a much underrated actress.

Like I said the biggest problem with Shattered is that it plays out exactly like every single suspense/thriller out there. It takes a very clichéd plot and never once offers us anything different. The final act though does offer a decent twist that if you pay close attention you might just be able to figure out. But the motive was a little extreme for what happened, but it does sort of work and makes Shattered a little better, but a good final act that still has some clichés cannot save a movie filled with them.

Despite my 2-star rating Shattered is by no means a bad movie; like I said it just suffers way too much from the been there, done that. Sometimes that can work well, but not in this case. Despite 2-stars, Shattered isn't bad, but due to the clichés I had to deduct a star. This movie has gotten mixed reaction and I can understand why some people like it, but when all is said and done the lack of originality did it in for me.
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on October 4, 2007
I have seen this movie 3 times on TNT and can't wait to get it on the DVD without all the cuts and commercials. This is a movie that will let you see one thing, and then another, and keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through. I watched it because of Gerard Butler, but Pierce Brosnan and Maria Bello were very good in their characterizations too and I was very satisfied with all their performances.

I dont want to go into details here as this movie is best seen without knowing the twists and turns it takes in its unfolding, but believe me you will not want to see it just once. It invites discussion and a search into ones own sensibilities about what is right or wrong in human nature. I liked this film very much and feel it should have been allowed in theaters first. Oh yes, Gerard did a great job with this role and his range of emotions are stretched to the limits.....
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on January 19, 2008
Ah, to have everything--a great job, a great wife, a lovely daughter, a nice house, an impending promotion. Life is good. But then, life, being the way it is, shows the worm, that awful worm of destruction. The first "worm" showed up in the Garden to demonstrate its ability to destroy. There have been worms and worms ever since--hidden in each of us-- the worm of desire, greed, revenge, hate, jealousy, envy, despair, the list is endless.

Ah, yes, Neil has everything, including a worm. Let's examine that apple--once again. What a great job: if you include double-crossing your friends and co-workers to grow it. What a great wife--especially if you have a side squeeze to keep your love life varied and thus interesting. What a lovely daughter--kidnapped and gone. What a deserved impending promotion--indeed!

Enter the Wrath of God in the person of Tom, rising up, hidden, from the depths of the back seat. He is here to make Neil and Abby pay for their sins. What's that? Only Neil? Only Neil is to pay?

Then begins the systematic unraveling of Neil's life as he knows it. What would a man do to save his kidnapped daughter? This reviewer can go no further to avoid spoilers. This is allowable: No one escapes. The worm affects every character in the film in utterly devastating ways. Ultimately, in different ways, everyone is "shattered."

When Adam and Eve are forced out of the Garden, what happened to them? Was that the end, or was there more story? At the film's conclusion, the question remains the same: What will happen now?

Note: For local playhouse directors--this script would make a great vehicle for local talent. Although the movie is filmed in various locations, all of it could easily be staged.
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on December 6, 2008
Some movies are easy to criticize in a review, pointing out the positive and the negative while applauding or panning those involved. Other movies, like director Mike Barker's psychological melodrama "Shattered" (***** out of *****) [a.k.a. "Butterfly on a Wheel"] with Pierce Brosnan & Gerald Butler, pose problems because you cannot plunge into details without divulging crucial plot points that would ruin the film's quotient of mystery and suspense for folks who want to see it. I thoroughly enjoyed "Shattered," but my closest and dearest friends absolutely detested it from start to finish. Evidently, the film did not fare well at the box office because it didn't play in the sticks where I live, Columbus, Mississippi, and it didn't last long in theaters. Since I don't subscribe to the crappy cable where I lived, little did I know that it premiered on TNT. I envy those audiences that did see it in theaters. Again, I had a blast watching this tense, white-knuckled, nightmare of a suspense thriller.

The first time that I saw Mike Barker's "Shattered," I watched it with the commentary track playing because I had bought it used at a Movie Gallery sale in case the DVD skipped and I had to wait any length of time before I could replace it. . I've never had a problem watching a movie that I learn stuff about as I am watching it. In fact, the second time that I watched "Shattered," I appreciated it the way some people savor good food. Now, the married couple that saw "Shattered" took an immediate dislike to it and the surprise ending didn't leaving them gasping, and they generally didn't like anything about it, especially Maria Bello.

Pierce Brosnan, the former James Bond on the big-screen and Remington Steele on the small screen, has been monkeying around with his cinematic persona since the Bond producers sent him packing after "Die Another Day." He let his belly hang out in "After the Sunset," admittedly a routine caper film, and most recently, he sang in "Mama Mia." Between these epics, Brosnan played the villain in "Shattered" and he is convincing without going overboard as a psychotic lunatic.

An unshaven renegade with a grudge, Tom Ryan (Pierce Brosnan) forces his way into the lives of successful Chicago advertising executive Neil Randal (Gerald Butler of "300") and his pretty blond wife Abby (Maria Bello of "Payback") as Neil is taking Abby off to a girls' night out rendezvous before he leaves on a jet for a trip with his boss. No sooner have our happily married couple hit the road than Tom pops up out of the backseat and holds them at gunpoint. Not surprisingly, Neil and Abby react with shock and their shock intensifies when Tom explains that the babysitter is part of his grand kidnapping scheme. Tom assures the Randalls that with his cell phone he can order his accomplice to kill their adorable little girl Sophie if they refuse to follow his orders.

Now, if you're the kind of person that likes to pick holes in plots before the film has even reached its climax, you will HATE "Shattered." My friends were bombarding me with questions and trying to guess the outcome. The wife had figured part of it out, but there was a red herring that threw them off the scent for a while. Anyway, Tom has been watching Neil so we know that he knows something and the something that Tom knows is the exact amount of Neil's bank account, over $142-thousand dollars. At this point, we know that Neil is an egotistical sort of guy and that he has a knack for landing big accounts at his advertising agency. The Randalls have a luxurious house in the Chicago suburbs and Abby is a photographer. She appears to be happy with her husband because the sky seems to be the limit for Neil. Neil has a lot of tenacity and he isn't afraid to admit it. He is a tiger at what he does, until he runs into Tom. At the bank, Neil and Abby withdraw everything and hand it over in an attaché case to Tom. Tom wastes no time. He pulls out a sheaf of bills and sets fire to it and then he drops the burning currency into the attaché case and tosses it lock, stock, and barrel off a bridge in Chicago.

Indeed, "Shattered" is for all practical purposes a kidnap thriller and initially I was intrigued but grew impatient with it. However, the more that I watched it, the more entertaining it became. Nobody gave a bad performance and I loved the surprise ending. Unfortunately, I don't want to say anything else, except I feel that "Shattered" qualifies as an excellent, edge-of-your seat movie and happily most of the people who wrote about it at Amazon shared my sentiments. The filmmakers took the original title "Butterfly on a Wheel" from an Alexander Pope poem that basically translates as smashing a butterfly with a hammer with a fly swatter would serve the same purpose. Once you see the film, you'll understand the title. I love watching Maria Bello in any film and I wish that her career were more prestigious than it is because she is a talented lady. Altogether, my review doesn't do justice to this spine-tingling, nail-biter that ripples with one surprise after another surprise.

"Shattered" is in the same league with the fantastic David Fincher thriller "The Game" with Michael Douglas and "Derailed" with Clive Owen. Although "Shattered" received an R-rating, this hairraising opus contains no nudity, little bloodshed, but several tense moments and "B. Monkey" lenser Ashley Rowe's scintillating widescreen photography at times may induce vertigo.
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