Netflix’s mind-bending movies will leave you breathless and blinking

Owner of an enviable career, director Brad Anderson has earned his place in the illustrious pantheon of filmmakers who make their big films up to the age of forty. In the very year he completed four decades of life, 2004, he bequeathed to the cinema “The Worker”, in which an incredibly emaciated Christian Bale suffered in the flesh (and mainly in the bones) of a train driver who ended up causing a serious accident with a colleague for not being able to fall asleep. Fifteen years later, in 2019, Anderson surprises, although without the same success as the production starring Bale, by giving a very personal touch to “Fratura”. By balancing the structures of classic suspense, the director brings a seemingly unrelated story, and so much the worse if you compare the opening and the ending separately. Since a film cannot of course be evaluated only by the beginning and the end, it is necessary to pay close attention to the beginning in order to understand the end – and in “Fracture” even more so.

Reluctantly, Ray Monroe, played by Sam Worthington, takes his wife, Joanne, played by Lily Rabe, and daughter, Peri, from Lucy Capri so that the three of them can spend the Thanksgiving holiday at their in-laws’ house. Ray makes a stop at a gas station to buy soda, brandy and batteries for the toys that Peri is distracted with during the trip, but what should be something completely mundane quickly turns into a nightmare. The grocery store doesn’t accept credit cards, and Ray only buys the essentials, which doesn’t include batteries. He goes back to the car, opens the back door, pours soda on the seat, and between curses and curses, Peri jumps out. In a crescendo of the plot’s atmosphere of total unpredictability, a dog appears and frightens the girl, who keeps moving away until Ray, trying to push the dog away, throws a rock at the animal, which sneaks away; yet Peri becomes frightened and falls from a considerable height. Trying to save her, Ray lunges in her direction and the two head down to the hospital.

Peri could only have broken his arm, as he could also have some internal bleeding, but if his case was really that serious, he would surely be dead, thanks to the excessive bureaucracy and useless protocols observed by the establishment – especially those in terms of how if you’re going to pay the bill and Ray’s health insurance isn’t accepted there – full of employees who barely hide the psychopathy behind their uniforms, who are incapable of empathizing with the suffering of others, and maybe deep down, they even like to watch these people’s trials from their cabin. When she is finally seen after an eternity by Stephen Tobolowsky’s friendly Doctor Berthram, Peri is sent underground to perform some tests. Ray returns to the lobby and the agonizing litany begins again.

From then on, “Fracture” becomes an escalation of panic, in the form of the sudden and unexplained disappearance of Peri and Joanne, an argument that Robert Eggers uses in an exquisite way in “The Witch” (2015). Nobody knows about them, and the first idea that strikes the viewer is about a possible plot against Ray, who is suspected of neglecting his daughter from the moment he set foot in the hospital, even through the receptionist. As the story progresses, a new, even more brutal perspective emerges: Worthington’s character would have gone in alone and would have already been medicated and released, without Peri and without Joanne. The protagonist’s saga begins to convince the authorities, called to stem the suffering he has fostered, that the hospital is holding his daughter and his wife captive, perhaps to be sedated and serve a purpose that is far from edifying.

The screenplay by Alan B. McElroy, author of “Panic in the Woods” (2003), directed by Rob Schmidt and soon unfolding into a powerful franchise, turns the film into a nightmare for Ray, and excruciatingly tragic once he wakes up. The hospital hallways seem to stretch out a little more with each sequence, as if the white walls had the ability to swallow a person, and they kind of do. Plot progress is compromised by the central character’s stubbornness in admitting the obvious — reality too cruel for him and the major plot twist less than eight minutes from the finish line. “Fracture” is even reminiscent of David Cronenberg, but with pitifully vacant seats; the dialogues do not stand out for their originality, but there are elaborate breaths, punctuated at the right time. What cannot be overlooked, however, are the dramatic arcs that fall in the way, especially Joannes. It was essential to have a sequence that reveals the moment when the character played by Lily Rabe begins to lose her husband and why she begins to awaken in him the feelings that Ray persistently manifests, a circumstance that detracts from it, which can be seen at the end of the feature.

The passage that ends “Fratura,” a portrait of a family trying in vain to rebuild itself, is certainly the film’s high point, and frankly one of the most lyrical moments in recent film history. Impossible to say that this is a great work by Brad Anderson, but “Frtura” delivers what it promises. On reflection, it even delivers much more.

Movie: Broken bones
Direction: Brad Anderson
Year: 2019
genres: Thriller/suspense
Note: 8/10

Related posts

Leave a Comment