- The screenwriter did make one jumbo error, reminiscent of the
famous chauffeur murder in The Big Sleep. (Background. The director
of The Big Sleep was so confused by the plot that he called up
Raymond Chandler, the author of the book, to clear up some plot
points. Even Chandler could not explain who killed the chauffeur.)
Greta Scacchi, the conniving femme fatale in Shattered, receives a
phone call from a guy named Jack Stanton, somebody whose identity is
integral to the entire mystery. The call was actually made by a man
- we know this because of the maid who took the call. There is
nobody who could have made that call! If the caller had been a
woman, there could be a possible explanation, but the maid clearly
said that she talked to Stanton himself, and it was a man's
voice. Not possible! So the Stanton call goes on the unexplainable
plot point list, along with the chauffeur murder.
- At one point, while driving through a portion
of a forest with no roads, Tom Berenger demonstrates driving
skills and daring that would make Mario Andretti envious. In fact,
it might make God envious. No matter who he really was, there was
nothing in his past that could have explained this. When I watched
that scene, I started to revise my interpretation of the "twist",
thinking that the Berenger character might actually have been a
stunt man hired to stage the accident in the opening scene. That
wasn't an unreasonable thought, but it wasn't correct, and his
unearthly driving ability remains unexplained.
- Spoiler ahead: once we buy into amnesia, it is
reasonable for the film to postulate that Berenger is simply a
different man from whom we think he is. After all, one man with no
memory, a man whose appearance has been completely reconstructed
by plastic surgery, is pretty much interchangeable with another.
But what is completely implausible is that nobody can tell he's a
different man except his lover. His partner never suspects a
thing, even though Berenger the architect suddenly has no idea how
to do architecture. Did the two men (that Berenger might have
been) have the same voice? The same birthmarks? Use the same
vocabulary? Like the same food and music?
- Although Berenger spends the entire film unable
to remember anything, despite the ministrations of the top docs in
the field, he suddenly remembers enough to tell us the entire plot
with a minute to go in the film. How did this miracle happen? Bob
Hoskins grabbed him by the collar and said, "you have to
remember". Oh, OK. The oldest imaginary movie cure for an
imaginary movie disease.
- Stock footage of curling waves accompanied some
pictures of Greta Scacchi's sex scenes, with the sex images
dissolved into the waves. In addition to being the fourth oldest
sex cliche in the book, the waves also prevented me from seeing the
beautiful Ms Scacchi as clearly as I would have liked.
The three older sex pictorialization cliches:
3. Train going into tunnel.
In addition to an entertainingly convoluted plot, the film had
two other excellent features:
- Bob Hoskins has a major role, and is as solid
and down-to-earth as ever. It amazes me that this man has never
won an Oscar. (He was nominated for Mona Lisa)
- Greta Scacchi removes her shirt a lot, and this was back in
the day when you would strain for a look at that sight.
Tuna's comments in yellow:
Shattered (1991) is impossible to
say much at all about without writing a spoiler, and that would be a
shame, as the ending caught me totally by surprise. I can say that
it involves an accident, amnesia, and Greta Scacchi shows her
breasts frequently throughout the film.
The DP was László Kovács, and it was shot in and around San
Francisco, so the film looks great, and the MGM release has a
pristine Widescreen transfer on one side, and a 4/3 on the other.
Unfortunately, it is basically devoid of special features, and I
would have liked a commentary on this one.
- Domestic gross: $11 million
|The meaning of the IMDb
score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics.
Films rated below five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one
and a half stars from the critics or even less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but
will be considered excellent by genre fans, while
C- indicates that it we found it to
be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Any film rated C- or better is recommended for
fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is
recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C-
that often, because we like movies and we think that most of
them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know
that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below
Based on this description, both
of our reviewers called it a solid C, an entertaining genre offering
with enough graces to atone for its sins.