Butterfly on a Wheel ★★★★

I first learned of this movie when I found it in a Redbox kiosk. It had me at Pierce Brosnan and Maria Bello, and I didn't even look at the synopsis. Including one viewing with the feature commentary by director Mike Barker and writer William Morrissey, I think this makes my fourth viewing. Even knowing what happens - and why - I was able to become caught up in it again tonight.

I can understand why some viewers found it disappointing, particularly coming out (as we're reminded in the trailers when the DVD opens) amid the Saw series. The stakes here aren't gruesome. No one is forced to choose between their own limbs, or chew through their own ankle, or any such nonsense. Yet this is precisely what I find captivating about the story. It's a melodrama, in the vain of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Tales from the Crypt. Part of me wishes this had been shot in black and white, just to punctuate its milieu.

The aforementioned Brosnan and Bello are two of my favorite contemporary actors, and they both sell this one. Brosnan in particular is compelling and intense, in a way that he hasn't really shown much in his other screen performances. It's jarring, but kind of fun, to watch Brosnan spew such contempt in every single frame. This is some Grade A, Grumpy Cat-level hatred.

I also credit Gerard Butler for conveying escalating desperation. That scene where Tom makes Neal stand on a ledge? Yeah, I'm glad this didn't play in theaters. I'd probably have had an anxiety attack just watching that, in part because Butler plays it with the fear that I would have had (though Neal overcomes it enough to get on the ledge, whereas I could not imagine doing so).

Shattered Re-ranked on My Flickchart (#253/1599)

Shattered > Secret Honor --> #253
Shattered > Far and Away --> #253
Shattered < Club Dread --> #253
Shattered > Cruel Intentions --> #253
Shattered < The Living Daylights --> #253
Shattered > The Hunt for Red October --> #253
Shattered > Ansiket [The Magician] --> #253
Shattered > Shattered --> #253
Shattered > Une femme est une femme --> #253
Shattered > Day & Night --> #252
Shattered < Mickey's Christmas Carol --> #252

Shattered was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #252/1599