Friday, October 11, 2019

Brad Anderson’s Fractured

In this case, better electronic medical record-keeping might have prevented an awful lot of trouble. Yes, that is the takeaway we’re going with. Ray Monroe gets a little concerned when a hospital that is more concerned with paperwork than bedside manner loses his wife and injured daughter in Brad Anderson’s Fractured, which premieres today on Netflix.

While driving across country, Ray and Joanne Monroe bicker like cats and dog, while their daughter Perri listens to CDs. When the disc-player’s batteries die, they pull for a pit stop (in fact, the hygiene-challenged service station is literally called “The Pit Stop”), where Perri takes a nasty fall after getting spooked by a snarling dog. The Monroes rush her to the nearest hospital, but the admitting department is more interested in her organ donation status than her injuries. Eventually, she is examined by a doctor, who recommends a CAT scan.

When Monroe awakens from a brief doze in the waiting room, his wife and daughter are nowhere to be found. To make matters worse, the hospital staff insists they were never there in the first place. When Monroe begs to differ, they first react dismissively and then become increasingly hostile, eventually reaching for the sedatives, but the desperate father won’t be having any of that.

Anderson has made a number of interesting genre films, like Vanishing on 7th Street, Stonehearst Asylum, and Beirut, which is why Fractured is such a disappointment. The premise is somewhat old-hat to start with, but the film also seems to take forever to build up any steam. Still, Anderson and his intense star, Sam Worthington, manage to keep viewers invested enough to be annoyed by the predictable but still deeply unsatisfying conclusion. “All that for this,” viewers might ask.

Worthington makes a credibly relatable and realistically flawed everyman as Monroe. Lily Rabe is also fine as Joanne Monroe, while she is around. Of course, we should be concerned when Perri is treated by Dr. Berthram, played by Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day: “bing”). The only function of most of the supporting characters have seems to be making Monroe even more suspicious, but Dr. Isaacs, the possibly sympathetic staff head-shrinker nicely played by Adjoa Andoh is an interesting exception.

Fractured is the sort of film you find yourself re-writing in your head to help make it through, like what if instead of a regular schmoo, Monroe was really someone influential, like a congressman traveling incognito, so the hospital staff couldn’t patronize or manhandle him without facing serious consequences. Then how would it all unfold? Probably quite differently, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. What we have is too familiar and relentlessly downbeat (in terms of tone and tempo). Not recommended, Fractured is now streaming on Netflix.