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SPOILERS ahead on the Netflix movie Fractured.
How did the Fractured movie end on Netflix, and what's the deal with that final shot of Sam Worthington's character Ray? Director Brad Anderson weighed in with details on the ambiguity of the ending.
Like many Breaking Bad fans, I watched El Camino on Netflix the day it was released. But I also noticed Avatar star Sam Worthington was in a new movie released the same day, called Fractured. Without knowing anything about it, I jumped in for the 1 hour 40 minute ride. Through the film, I tried to anticipate the twists ahead, knowing there would be something but not quite sure what screenwriter Alan B. McElroy and director Brad Anderson had planned.
The movie started with Sam Worthington's Ray Monroe fighting in the car with his wife Joanne Monroe (Lily Rabe) as their daughter Peri Monroe (Lucy Capri) sat in the backseat. They were driving home from a bad Thanksgiving dinner with her family. They made a pit stop so Peri could use the bathroom and she ended up taking a hard fall in an area the police probably should've blocked off as a major danger site to prevent this entire story from happening.
At any rate, that's where the story has a schism that we don't realize until the end. After both Peri and Ray fall, Ray gets up and -- in his mind -- takes Peri to the hospital with Joanne. They say she has a fractured arm.
At the end of Fractured, we realize most of that was in Ray's head, and the "shrink" the hospital brought to talk to him was right. He created a false reality after Peri fell, because she died. In his shock, he stood there while Joanne raged at him, and he pushed her to the side without even seeming to see her. She hit her head on a spike -- seriously, the police need to shut that area down -- and also died.
Ray kept his wife and daughter's bodies in the car, but in his mind he thought he was rescuing them from a hospital that was stealing and selling patients' organs. Turns out, that was not the case. I'm most worried about the random patient still in Ray's car as he drove away. The police didn't give chase to get that person back to the hospital?!
The end shot of Fractured initially shows a closeup of Ray smiling, after looking through the rear-view mirror and seeing his imagined wife smile at him and say let's go home. But then his face gets a darker look for the last frame -- a screenshot of that look is posted in the photo above.
Fractured premiered at Fantastic Fest in September before its October 11 debut on Netflix. While at Fantastic Fest, director Brad Anderson -- who previously directed The Machinist, Session 9, and Beirut -- talked to Fresh Fiction about the ending and the choice of that final shot.
Yeah. The last frame of the movie is a close up of Ray’s face after he’s just sung a song to his child in the backseat and his wife. It’s a sense of accomplishment and being a hero. ‘I did it! I saved them from the bad guys at the hospital.’ But then we kept it rolling, and in the last frames, you start to see his face fall, like it just dawned on him. That wasn’t in the script. In the script, it ends with, ‘Ray drives off into the sunset with his family.’ But I wanted to add a little of (what you just said) ambiguity for his character.
The director talked about the question Fractured leaves fans with at the end of the movie:
I wonder if he will wake up to the truth or not. That’s the question at the end of the movie. Depending on how bleak of an outlook you have on things, you can say better that he live in self-delusion, which is better than him living in reality. We all do that to a certain degree in our lives. We don’t want to face harsh realities. We just want to gloss them over and put them aside. Maybe there’s a little bit of that going on here. I find the ending to be sad and tragic, but it’s also poignant, too. He’s just a guy that wants to be a good dad. He wants to be a father and husband who did the right thing. At the beginning of the movie, he’s browbeaten and down. He doesn’t think that he’s got it. It’s not straight-up horror. It’s a tragedy with horror overtones.
You have to imagine the police will show up at some point. Or someone will ask about the live (or maybe dying and on the way to death) patient in the backseat, and the two dead bodies in the trunk. Ray doesn't have a solid grip on reality, so I'm wondering if he'll still see that as the corrupt world trying to gaslight him. Everyone is in on it, etc. As director Brad Anderson added:
In this movie, in some weird way, the bending of reality and truth is kind of relevant to the times we live in. You can make your own truth. Like this movie, you could just drive off into the sunset believing whatever you want to believe. Just don’t turn around and look at what’s in your backseat.
Interesting. Did you see that particular Fractured ending twist coming, or were you expecting something else? At one point I thought maybe Ray had imagined the entire hospital. It didn't seem logical anyway that that many people would be out at a hospital in the middle of absolute nowhere.
Anyway, Fractured is just one of the many Netflix originals headed your way. There are plenty of films and also TV shows to see in October -- including lots of good horror -- and more will be coming soon in November. Sam Worthingon will be back as Jake Sully for James Cameron's Avatar sequels, with the first one arriving in 2021.