A stressful Minnesota family Thanksgiving, a harrowing drive on icy roads on the way home. Their child has a fall on a construction site next to a gas station they stop in, an anxious race to a nearby hospital.
But the worst is over, right? That’s what Joanne (Lily Rabe) and Ray (Sam Worthington) figure. Once they get past the intrusive admissions questioning, the maddening wait, “Everything’s going to be fine,” right?
Well, the ER doc on duty is played by Stephen Tobolowsky. So, maybe not.
“Fractured” is a rock solid, blood simple thriller from the director of “The Machinist.” If you haven’t seen that deeply disturbing Christian Bale tale, RENT IT.
This is about what happens when Ray lets wife and child (Lucy Capri) head “downstairs” for a CAT scan. He watches the elevator drop to “LL,” takes his seat and waits. And waits and waits and waits.
When he starts asking questions, he gets the brush off. “Shift change” and all of that.
When he remembers the shifty looks nurses, the admissions clerk and others gave him, the testing “Is this really relevant?” questions about “family history” and his first wife and his “recovering alcoholic” status, panic sets in.
When he learns that radiology and imaging is UPstairs, not in the basement, he freaks.
Where is his family? What’s going on here? What exactly is his mental state, aside from the manic man missing his wife and child that we can see?
Director Brad Anderson, working from a middling but covers-the-basics Alan B. McElroy script (he wrote a “Left Behind,” a few “Wrong Turns,” “The Perfect Guy,” etc.), concentrates on Worthington and visual and aural (muffled sound) ways to show Ray’s increasingly frayed state of mind.
The lead-up to the opening act accident is grey, chilly and fraught. We can feel something bad happening quite a bit before it actually does.
Worthington ably threads his way through Ray’s rising alarm, from “It’s been hours,” to “I signed her in myself! You threw out the SHEET?” to “You lost my FAMILY?”
The hospital responds the way “TV movie” hospitals do, nary a concern for liability when dealing with a distraught father. But when the cops arrive — in the script’s farthest reach — they treat every coherent or semi-coherent thing out of Ray’s mouth absolutely seriously. Hospital personnel are quick with the “You need to calm down,” but the cops? They ask questions.
That’s a twist — a situation where you’re suspicious and in fear of the medical profession and trust the cops to do the right thing.
Worthington’s had his share of tour de force opportunities, and this one pays off. He’s just crazy enough to plant doubt, just sane enough to make us think “He’s NOT paranoid. Are these people selling kids or harvesting organs?”
There’s little beyond the grey-and-grim production design here that one would venture so far as to call it “great.” But “Fractured” provides an interesting mystery, engrossing story and a couple of superb action beats, more than enough to make it “Netflixable.”
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, violence
Cast: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Stephen Toboloswky, Adjoa Andoh and Lucy Capri
Credits: Directed by Brad Anderson, script by Alan B. McElroy. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:40