Shattered (Arrow Recommends)

Shattered (Arrow Recommends)
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"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: Dan Merrick (Tom Berenger) and his wife Judith (Greta Scacchi) get in a car accident. Dan comes out of it with a
f*cked up face and a bad case of amnesia. He undergoes reconstructive facial surgery and returns home. Once back, he's plagued by odd memory flashes. Hence he attempts to remember whom he used to be while realizing the hard way that he shouldn't trust his "loved ones". The more the layers are peeled off, the nuttier the scenario gets.

  Dan: You know what I like best about amnesia? 
Judith: What? 
Dan: After seven years of marriage, I get to fall in love with you all over again.

LOWDOWN: If there’s one movie that doesn’t get nearly as much love and recognition as it deserves it’s Wolfgang Petersen’s 1991 Hitchcock on acid thriller SHATTERED (GET THE BLU-RAY HERE) starring the great Tom Berenger. Based on the 1969 book The Plastic Nightmare by Richard Neely, SHATTERED blew my mind when it first came out and I hadn’t seen it since. Am happy to elbow drop that watching it today, the flick still held up rock solid, and better yet, I got to appreciate its boldness and artistry on a whole other level. Yes, that had a lot to do with the fact that I was an utter moron in 1991. 

SHATTERED was German director Wolfgang Petersen’s second American film after the solid sci-fi opus ENEMY MINE (1985) and the man once again proved that his directorial skills were superior to the norm. Tapping the picture again it totally reminded me of a Hitchcock movie in terms of tone, a strong axis on mystery and the overall aesthetics (The San Francisco locations also helped… Vertigo anyone?). Petersen and DOP Laszlo Kovacs (who also shot Ghostbusters, the OG that is) keen eyes back-upped the meticulous, smart as a whip and maze like screenplay ideally, infusing (yes I just used that word… not sure what it means, go with it) the visuals with noir mood galore, inventive angles, plays with shadows, ambitious camera moves and LSD laced imagery that represented our lead’s tortuous (another big word - am on a roll) state of mind (that head/torso made of glass shattering gag was epic).

Now I know some people found some of the elements at play a tad implausible, especially once the HUGE reveal was nade dropped, but not this twat! In fact I thought the film did a superb job in covering its bases plot wise and granted the final surprise was a bit out there, but I bought it wholesale and was whooped silly once again even though I knew it was coming! Moreover, I adored the approach the flick took in terms of telling its story. I was basically forced into the lead’s shoes and with him, I followed up on clues, didn’t know who to trust, got back-handed by surprising turn of events and was trying to put it all together. It made for a very engrossing sit down, an almost interactive experience if you will. NOTE TO SELF: Get a life.

The stand out cast also definitely helped in selling the sordid chain events. Tom Berenger was at his best as the confused man in search of who he was and what’s truly going, Greta Scacchi steamed up the screen (what a gorgeous lady) and gave us a multilayered show while Joanne Whalley and Corbin Bernsen gave memorable performances as supporting players. On that it was Mr. Mario Brothers himself Bob Hoskins that stole first base with his focused, “always in the moment” and somewhat eccentric display. What an actor! Every scene he was in – he stole. 

Add to all that exciting chase sequences, jaw dropping car stunts, fairly erotic sex scenes that hit the D spot, some sly clues as to what is truly going down peppered throughout (I only caught them on this second watch), an old school and majestic score by Alan Silvestri and genuine moments of tension that had me on the edge of my edge and you get one hell of a well rounded mindf*ck thriller. Any qualms? Not really. The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way on this watch was Petersen superimposing a couple making love with big ocean waves rolling and crashing in. I found that cheesy as f*ck and it had me giggling like a school girl sniffing glue – and not the cheap kind – am talking high end glue over here. Not sure if that ploy worked in 1991, but it surely didn’t in 2018. AT ALL.

But hey if that’s the worse and only thing I can come up with as to frowning at this movie – we're all good! If you’ve never seen Shattered, I highly recommend that you rectify that A f*cking SAP! It’s a furiously paced, intelligent, tension charged thriller that will keep you guessing till the bitter end. And if you have seen it, give it another shot - they don't make them like this anymore. So what are you waiting for? For me to drop rose petals on the ground? Step into Tom Berenger’s shoes and seek out the truth for yourself! Shattered OWNS!



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