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In Chicago, Neil Randall - family man and executive of an advertisement agency - has a perfect life. He expects to be promoted in his job soon, he has a beautiful and sexy wife, Abby, a lovely daughter, Sophie, and he lives in a wonderful house. When Neil's boss, Karl Granger, invites him to spend the weekend in his country cottage, Abby hires a nanny for Sophie, so Abby can spend the day with her sister, Diane. While driving Abby to meet Diane, a stranger who was hidden on the backseat appears with a gun, and informs them that he has kidnapped Sophie. He introduces himself as Ryan, and states that for twenty-four hours the couple will obey his orders, otherwise he will kill Sophie. By keeping the couple under his total control, he makes it clear that he is a calculating sociopath with nothing to lose, and the intention of destroying Neil's perfect life. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Every once in a while a movie comes along without any great fanfare, advance hype or viral marketing a true sleeper, as it were and causes the viewer to wonder how such a gem flew under the radar. Such is the case with Butterfly on a Wheel (released in North America under the title Shattered).
The title Butterfly on a Wheel, taken from the Alexander Pope's 1734 poem "Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot", refers to someone putting massive effort into achieving something considered minor or unimportant, and is cryptically referred to at various points in the story and pretty much sums up the entire plot of this movie.
Gerard Butler plays Neil Randall, a Chicago advertising executive and rising star at his firm. He appears to have everything going for him. A boss who views him as the heir apparent, a loving wife, adoring moppet-headed daughter, nice house, car he's living the American dream. That is until everything comes to a grinding halt when, on an outing with his wife (Maria Bello) they find themselves hijacked by Tom Ryan (Pierce Brosnan), a mysterious stranger who tells them his associate has their daughter captive and unless they wish to see her alive again, they must complete a series of arduous and cryptic challenges.
From there unfolds a cat and mouse game with Ryan's motives becoming ever more difficult to decipher as the movie progresses. With a plot peppered with enough red herrings to keep you guessing (I thought for sure I had it all figured out early on, only to be thrown for a loop), Butterfly on a Wheel/Shattered is paced to perfection, strongly acted by all three principals, and delivers a smart, almost too clever story.
What's more, it will leave you thinking about it long after viewing, and even motivating you to go over scenes again to try and find flaws, which may be there, but are very cleverly hidden.
While the media blitz that tends to foreshadow most movie releases undoubtedly benefits the film studios, in this case I can honestly say that knowing zero about this film going in actually worked in its favor, and has me marking it as one not to be missed.
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