Shattered (1991 USA)

Wolfgang Petersen directs this suspense thriller with some skill, so most intelligent viewers should be intrigued enough to be seduced by it up till the very end. Even though Shattered has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock movies and the novels of Agatha Christie, it does go a lot further and is far more daring then anything that Agatha Christie or Alfred Hitchcock ever wrote or directed. The reason it seems that so many people are turned off by this motion picture is that it not only went the full nine yards to tell it’s mystery/suspense story with an out of the blue surprise ending, but it goes the entire length of the football field in telling it.

The story begins as Dan (ruggedly played by manly Tom Berenger) and Judith, (Greta Scacchi, she with the hard nipples) endure a horrifying car crash on New Years Eve. Dan’s face is left totally unrecognizable while Judith is left with barely a scratch. “She didn’t even sprain her ankle” says a character later on in the proceedings. The reconstruction surgery begins and Dan is back to his old self in no time. One afternoon, Dan discovers a roll of film, hidden in his office. When unrolling it he sees Judith and a man–he presumes for a moment it’s him–making love. The pictures have been taken through a window.

As Dan unrolls the film further, the man’s face slowly comes into view, and guess what? (Drumroll)…it’s not him. Later that night he and Judith attend dinner at Dan’s business partner (Corbin Bernson) and his wife’s (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) home. There Dan asks the big question once alone with Jeb. “Was my marriage in trouble?” After getting startling comments out of both Jeb and Jenny, Dan hires a detective, Gus Klein (Bob Hoskins).

Dan came across Gus’s name when he was going through his old day planner, trying to put the pieces of his life together. Together they come up with shocking news about Dan, Judith, and a third party, which has mysteriously reappeared. With twists and turns at every angle, Shattered will keep you on your toes. From the opening shot, you know this film will be a good one. The acting is superb and the story line is all round terrific. Be forewarned, when Dan discovers the truth about everything, hang on tight amidst the maze of twists and turns.

You might go into a little bit of a shock. I did. I highly recommend this film. The fact that the audience discovers the clues at the same time as Dan creates a great deal of empathy for his predicament and a clear understanding of the confusion and frustration that he experiences. I highly recommend you catch Shattered. Munch on a snack, grab a blanket, turn the lights down low, put on your constricted clothing….whatever. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride, start to finish because its one of those delicious, juicy, overlooked gems that slipped under the radar.



  1. Great review! I like the sound of this premise, will be adding this one to my to-watch list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! If only more intriguing films like this were made…


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