Both Fractured and Eli are running on the Netflix streaming platform. Each movie has its fair share of haters and fans. I am a fan of both films. To be fair I liked Eli a little more than Fractured but as they are entirely different films, you might feel differently depending on your taste. In this write-up, I’ll go through both films and include a hidden drop-down sealed section for any spoiler review information.
The only thing I knew about Fractured on Netflix was that somebody had told me I was smarter than the movie. Wondering how smart I might be I decided to watch it. I enjoyed this more than the gallons of disapproving-flack it’s receiving. It also might mean I am not so smart, or perhaps I like things that aren’t. Either way, I thought a spoiler review was in order. Anyone whose frequented the Mother of Movies website will know I quite like a straightforward thriller. Fractured might not be considered as simple because it decidedly wants you to see the story a particular way before trying to surprise you with its sneakiness.
Despite picking up on some early details that pointed to exactly where this story was headed, I liked its steady closing monologue that spelled out exactly what had happened from the start. If you missed this or have some questions I’ve included a spoiler section under the rating for Fractured.
The story basically tells the tale of an alcoholic who was either an alcoholic before crashing his car with his wife and unborn baby in it, or as a result of doing so. Ray moves on and is ultimately mid-fight with Joanne. He remarries, has a daughter, Peri, but still hears the demon in the bottle calling him from time to time. One such time is while driving with his new family. Its obvious things between them are strained. Ray doesn’t come across as an evil person. He’s just someone with far too many issues, most of which are caused by his own vices.
Ray is played by Sam Worthington. I’ll admit his accent sometimes comes across as slightly odd. Irrespective, I enjoyed his portrayal of a man at odds with his life’s journey. Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) as his wife Joanne does a fine job if you look back on her performance after the film is over. Her stoic nature and underdeveloped tone is a result of the end results.
What I did find refreshing was Ray finding two police officers willing to believe someone wandering around outside a hospital. I was so taken back by this odd occurrence, it truly was the perfect red herring.
To sum up, I quite enjoyed the way this film was spliced up and put back together. Sure it’s been done before but production values were on point and it flows nicely enough that I wasn’t bored. It’s a great time passer. You can easily do laundry while watching. Then just enjoy figuring out how they are going to end the film rather than be surprised it ended the way it did.
I give Fractured
3.5 cops that believe you, out of 5
SPOILER SECTION AND ANSWER TO FRACTURED MYSTERIES
In the final act for the narrative, gives you a little explanation for Ray’s significant bypass of the truth. The short monologue is a repetition of Dr. Jacob’s advice when he talks to her about what is happening.
Quote spoiken by Adoja Andoh (Dr. Jacobs)
The mind can sometimes create an alternate reality, a false reality, to shield itself from trauma, from the things we fear, from the horrors we can’t imagine.
Prior to this point, the story can be summed up as follows;
- Ray’s first wife and unborn child die in a road accident. Either Ray was an alcoholic prior to this or because of this event.
- Due to the timeline regarding Perri’s age, 6, his wife’s death 8 years ago we can assume Ray and Joanne met and had a baby fairly quickly.
- Ray stops for petrol at a gas station and doesn’t have enough money to buy all the things he has collected. He needs to choose between batteries for his daughter’s player or his alcohol. He chooses alcohol and lies to his wife.
- Subsequently, he spills the Irish coffee he has now made for himself and while covering his spilled drink tracks, his daughter wanders away and falls into a worksite and dies.
- The dog exists and the fall happens exactly how it looks.
- While he waked up, his wife Joanne tries to get his attention after coming to find their daughter and he swats her away, knocking her onto the metal rods in the cement.
- When he turns away from them, his sanity is broken and it’s from this point on that the story is told through Ray’s fugue.
- It’s here we can assume that both bodies are in the trunk of the car where he was looking for Peri’s toy and the following scenes are all in his imagination interfused with his own trip to the hospital for head trauma. I’d also like to think, his erratic behavior leads to him being sedated and bringing him to a more confused state than he was already in.
- At the end of the film, the body he thinks is his wife is, in fact, one of the two teens injured in an earlier traffic incident.
New On Netflix
For lovers of independent film: check out my double review for Red Letter Day and Ghost in the Graveyard. Both on VOD from 5th November.
This new film for Netflix and Eli is a hard film to talk about without giving the game away. Even more so, why I think this film is special. There are clearly some well-used horror tropes here but they are utilized in such a way it was difficult to not be impressed. As a lover of film it’s hard to find movies that are different. It’s even harder to find films that use unique stamps on stories. But Eli managed to surprise me, and that’s worth an extra point or two in my book.
The narrative clearly involves lots of juicy secrets. There are also some ghosts, a weird house and a bunch of ‘sci-ency women’ who aren’t what they seem. Nothing surprising there, I hear you saying. What I liked about this wasn’t the use of all these components. Instead, it was the clear and novel way Eli himself was utilized. Without knowing anything about his background the hidden agenda was unearthed in the closing act. Criticism around the internet seems to be on the child performer, his lines and his delivery of them. Then there were those that had a problem with where the finish line was.
It’s Always the Ones You Don’t Expect
For me, I just love it when I think I’m getting a run on the mill ‘guess why’ type story, and instead find that there was a completely different plan underfoot. The introduction of the girl from down the road, I had already pegged as a ghost. I decided due to all the straight forward cliche narrative already at play that Eli could simply see her better than the other ghosts dragging him around the castle. The conclusion to this film was nothing short of being a pretty well-timed reveal.
I also think it’s great when a film ends with a clear line but could also continue quite easily. When I think about cinematic universes I want filmmakers who can extract that line of thinking and put it on the screen. There needs to be enough conviction where I think about how these characters might carry on after the credits roll. That’s talent.
The film’s director is Ciarán Foy whose previous works Sinister 2 (2015) and Citadel (2012) are both decent horror movies. But it’s his most recent involvement with A Haunting on Hill House that would have roused most people’s inclination to check this out. For me, it was the writer’s names that caused me to sit up. David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing. Chirchirillo wrote one of my favorite films Cheap Thrills (2013.) The latter worked together on The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Look, I don’t know what they were all drinking when they sat down and wrote this but I’d sure like a bottle of it.
This is not a movie that will please the more discerning film connoisseur. But for those like me that wade in both ends of the spectrum and enjoy the ride if the ending is good, you’ll enjoy it.
I give Eli
4 spin those nuns bubble boy, you deserve it, out of 5