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Imagine a Yuppie Gerard Butler. Great looking. Confident. Successful. Gorgeous wife. Beautiful sweet daughter. The perfect life in upscale suburban Chicago. Enter mysterious menacing stalking stranger and their worst nightmare begins. He threatens the life of their daughter as insurance for their obedience to his demands.
Sound like the typical 'kidnapped kid' flick? It's not.
It's taut, suspenseful, edge of your seat storytelling combined with good solid performances by all, especially Bello and Brosnan. Butler is very good, but I've seen him better. I believe he filmed this on the heels of the grueling demands of 300 and it shows a bit. He may not be at the very top of his game here, but he still performs well.
Brosnan upped his credibility as an actor for me in this film. He played the menacing stranger perfectly. Just the right tone of voice and facial expressions, joined with his eyes and body language, spoke in unison to perfection in every scene. I'd really like to see more from him, he is a very good dramatic actor. I like him better as an older, mature man. More gritty, less suave.
Maria Bello is perfect as the mother held hostage by mother love and the need to protect her child at all costs.
I loved the score. Where you might expect a really intense, gritty score, this one opts for a quieter one with a hint of bluesy undertones and it works. It intensifies at the right moments, but never takes a front seat as often happens in thrillers. It melds with the action and helps makes each scene into an audiovisual, emotional emulsion.
In fact, the whole film is just quieter than one would expect, given what is usually served up with films of this genre. There are no car chases, no last minute rescues, no heroes. It never goes over the top. It has its feet on the ground and its eyes on what's human and real.
This film is no dud. Even though it had a very limited release, it is not the fault of the filmmakers or the actors. It is good movie-making. You may not think it's one of the best films you've ever seen, but there's a good chance you'll be satisfied that you got your money's worth. I give it a definite thumbs up.
Scale of 1-10? I give this an 8.
Warning: DON'T read much about this film. DON'T watch the trailer over and over. The less you know going in, the better your experience of it will be. Because of one seemingly innocuous remark made by someone who'd seen it, I guessed the ending about halfway through. I wasn't even trying. But things we hear stick in our minds whether we like it or not. I sincerely wish I had not guessed correctly. The rest of the film lost it's suspense for me.
Hint: This is a two timer. It's even better the second time.
The split-second where this movie instantly changes from a soft-drama to a razor-sharp thriller is absolutely gorgeous ... it's a real shocker! And from that moment forth we have ourselves a nail-biting ride which'll keep you firmly on the edge of your seat until the very end. On top of that: this movie's great twist ending beautifully blurs the line between good and evil.
Pierce Brosnan has already proved to be much more than 007 and continues to do so here. Maria Bello became famous as the sexy waitress/dancer in "Coyote ugly" but over the years she became a fine actress. And Gerard Butler has fought side by side with Lara Croft and 300 of the bravest Greeks, but now this Scottish actor takes a break from this senseless violence and plays a more fragile role.
In short: "Butterfly on a wheel" is an intelligent cat-and-mouse-game that steadily becomes a first-rate thriller.
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.
Good cast of course. Sadly the plot "twist" was no surprise to me. One superbly staged and played scene near the end of this less-than-thrilling thriller does not a terrific movie make.
Frankly, in this day and age, when a woman doesn't slam a fist, knee, or foot between the legs of a male attacker/assailant/abductor...when she has plenty of ops to do so and behaves remarkably calm and collected under some extremely unnerving situations...well, there's something suspect about that.
I give it two thumbs up and this film really needs a wider release!!!
I hope you all get to see the film because it is a roller-coaster ride!!
Will definitely see it again, I'm sure I missed a lot.
Writer William Morrissey had a thought, camouflaged behind the meaning of an obscure line from Pope ('butterfly on a wheel') that refers to the degree of torture one can take before breaking. The problem is that this tale of the consequences of infidelity has been done many, many times before with far better results. The astute viewer will find all the cracks in the plot line of this supposed 'startling thriller' from the first few frames: watching suspicions play out is very anticlimactic. Morrissey depends on what he imaged as a 'big surprise' ending and it just doesn't surprise! Gerard Butler, Maria Bello, and Pierce Brosnan are all strong actors and one wonders why they opted to participate in this movie. It is not the best work of any of the three, trying to make credible characters out of the double-sided puzzle: kidnapping, testing of relationships, facing consequences of behavior. Director Mike Barker lets the drama sag when it most needs to be pushed. Unless the viewer just wants to see more of the three stars (even in a weak film) then that is the justification for sitting through this. Otherwise, pass... Grady Harp
Seeing it on TNT, it's understandable that the film had some problems in connecting with a larger audience. Brosnan's villain is below par for the actor and Butler has done better work elsewhere although he gives all his energy to the role of a distraught husband.
The plot is an elaborate cat-and-mouse game that Brosnan plays with the unlucky couple, Butler and Bello. While it does generate a certain amount of suspense, Brosnan's character remains an enigma for almost the whole story. Never once do we get a hint of why he's going to such extremes to torture the couple by demanding that they perform tasks at his bidding. A grungy looking Brosnan makes the villain a very unappetizing psychotic and we're never quite sure about Butler either, an ad agency man who gradually loses his swaggering overconfident manner.
Without giving away more of the plot (except to say that there is a mildly interesting twist toward the end followed by a double twist), the whole thing plays more like a made-for-TV movie than an actual film because none of the characters are more than one-dimensional despite the good acting. And the final scene between Butler and Bello is totally unbelievable as to motivation.
Summing up: Basically tricky and shallow at the core.
Over all I would say the acting was good. And it was a shame to have such talent wasted on such a bad story/script.
The problem is, the plot just has too many holes in it. With gaps so large in unbelievability, it just makes little sense..
First of all, of anyone who has kids, like I do, can probably agree with me on this one. If this were real the "protagonist", would be dead with in minutes if I/we were the real Dad here. The second he pointed the gun away from me and the Mrs., in many such scenes I would have slammed on the breaks and let gravity take it's course on the unseat-belted fool. Then if gun really had bullets, I would have taken out one limb at the time, until he told me exactly where my kid was. Come on people..
Spoiler: Furthermore, like the scene towards the end. If the kidnapper gave me a loaded gun (at least we thought it was loaded), he would have been the first person I (would have tried to at least) shot. Again I'd take out a knee, or an arm, and then asked him politely where the hell my kid was! And certainly he would have taken one in the head as soon as he picked up that phone to call his cohort to tell her to kill the kid.. WTF, WTF?
I could go on and on with points that just don't make sense in this movie, that don't seem in be plausible in the slightest. The "suspense" is ruined by the implausible stupidity of the parents, and even the bad guy. And it's pretty insulting to ones intelligence to think a viewer could ride all those holes out..
As thrillers go, this one is pretty stupid. Gerard Butler plays Neil Randall a hot-shot advertising executive with a perfect family in the form of gorgeous Maria Bello and their young daughter. The thing is, Tom's a little too smug from the outset, which made me dislike him immediately. He goes through the motions of stepping aside to allow a colleague a stab at proving himself but, when his suggestion is turned down, chooses not to promote his colleague's talents to his boss. He also drives a 4x4 in the city, a sure indicator that the guy is as bankrupt of values as it eventually turns out he is scruples.
Into the Randall's picture-perfect life steps the mysterious stubble-chinned Tom Ryan (Pierce Brosnan) who, with sinister ease, adeptly picks apart the threads of their cosy existence. Ryan oozes menace with his weathered features and bog-Irish accent. Brosnan is actually quite good, even though his character's motives remain a mystery for most of the film and writer William Morrissey is unable to add any kind of dimension to his character. Brosnan's accent had me thinking Randall had somehow fallen foul of the IRA, but the truth is far more fantastical than that.
The trouble with films like these and Nick of Time is the film that immediately springs to mind is that the main characters are under such relentless pressure throughout that at no point during the film do they or the viewer have a chance to sit back and consider what has happened. It's all rush, rush, rush: withdraw their cash, find money for dinner, deliver an incriminating package, unravel cryptic riddles, keep the increasingly volatile Ryan placated, hunt for kidnapped daughter. After a half-hour of this it all starts becoming a little tiresome and increasingly far-fetched.
After 90-minutes of cat-and-mouse escapades it turns out that the whole thing is an elaborate charade devised by wifey to get back at her errant husband for having an affair with his secretary Ryan's wife. Most women would satisfy themselves with cutting up his suits and painting a few insults questioning his parentage on that big shiny Chelsea tractor of his, but that would really be just a little too true to life. Sounds like these two pretty much deserve each other if you ask me
Unfortunately, with this movie, it's not enough just to be 'tired'. In order to enjoy it at all, you need to be 'unconscious', because that's the only way you're going to be able to stand it for more than 20 minutes.
The setup (perfect family, perfect house, perfect job, etc.) is just one long series of clichés, which aren't helped by the fact that every single person in the movie seems to have a different regional accent. The editing from one scene to the next is so jumpy and choppy that you keep thinking you've missed a scene or a bit of dialogue, because you can't understand (for example) why the wife is wearing a satin dress and super-high heels when two seconds ago she said she was going out shopping with her sister.
But the real problem are the 487 plot holes that happen within the first 30 minutes - it's unclear why this supposedly smart and successful couple goes from "Omigod there's a guy in the back seat" to "We must do everything he says even if it kills us" in about 6 minutes. Yeah, sure, he says if you don't do what he says he'll call the babysitter and tell her to kill your kid - SO WHEN HE HANDS YOU THE PHONE TO CALL YOUR BOSS, WHY DON'T YOU JUST TAKE THE PHONE AND RUN AWAY? We turned it off after 28 minutes, and I decided to write this review because I couldn't bear the thought of anyone else wasting any more time or money on this film.
This is a gripping thrill ride that constantly makes you think what YOU would do in this situation and question why it's happening. There are very few clues throughout the movie as to why they have been specifically targeted by the kidnapper and there are a few roller-coaster twists at the end that are jaw-dropping.
It's a psychological thriller of note, with never-ending suspense. This is the problem. It's a constant torrent of "what are they going to do". It never relents nor gives a moment to breath. Consequently you become frustrated and irritated that the movie doesn't give you any answers. Eventually you're just waiting to find out what happens, rather than holding onto the edge of your seat.
Ultimately it lacks the balance of suspense versus relief of similar kidnap thrillers like Mel Gibson's Ransom. The suspense just turns to irritation However this film is well worth watching if you want a no-nonce thriller that requires little thinking on your part and don't mind that half the movie takes place in a car due to the small budget.
Ingredients of a bad tasting stew of crap. Add in the not-so modern film-making mandatory elements of "guess who's the good/bad guy" and the apoplectic twister ending -- and what you have in front of you is a revolting steaming pile of bile-inducing gag-re flexing dog sh1t. It leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth while wasting your time. Oh, Pierce Brosnan, 007, is in this movie.
If you are interested in wasting your time watching this flick, let me try to dissuade you from doing so (and in the end you can thank me later for saving your precious 2 hours). THINK about it. What else can you do in 2 hours? You can shave those hard to reach curled up pubes in the back of your scrotum that haven't been touched since they grew during puberty. You can watch grass grow. You can brush your teeth. Anything basically, but watch this movie. But it's up to you. Like I said you can thank me later, or hate yourself for a long time after deciding to watch this crap after heeding my advice.
I can't think at other comments that would not spoil the story but the damn guidelines are asking for minimum 10 lines....so.
The story is original, i can't remember to have seen this subject in a movie before, and the performance is almost perfect, the characters seem to be able to hide the motives behind their actions until the very last moment...contributing at the tension of the movie. In one word, i can't understand why so few people have voted for this movie...i vote rarely , but i could not stop myself to vote for this one
And a little hint to any potential kidnappers out there: Try the stunt Brosnan pulls, popping up in the backseat of my car holding a gun, and you'll be flying through the windshield before I even hear what it is you're after. The couple were belted into the front and had airbags. The guy with the gun was sitting loose in the back. I'd have crashed our car into the first big concrete thing I saw without a word. Would have made a much shorter movie.
Besides being boring and predictable, it lacks any significant meaning. It's difficult to fill up 10 lines for IMDb describing in detail what I'd prefer to forget. The acting isn't bad, as you'd expect from the actors involved (though you'll ask yourself why they'd be involved at all with this). There are issues, like Brosnan's voice sometimes feels like a voice-over, and it's difficult to tell if he's supposed to be doing an Irish or Scottish accent. Given the way the film is largely talk driven and his talking is featured, you'd think there'd be some significance to it, but it doesn't really matter.
The single biggest problem besides the shallow, imitative, factory-made story is the lack of plot development. I suppose they thought it added suspense and mystery. It just made it seem completely unthought through.
1) If you lose me in the first 5 minutes - it's game over.
2) A character's actions must be believable. If I'm yelling at the screen - dial 911 and he doesn't - there'd better be a good reason or I'm walking out.
3) The "but think of the children!?" schtick only works with retired Sunday School teachers from Peoria (and US congressmen) - it annoys everyone else.
4) Plot twists don't make a good story - they only work if you have good believable story that people had bought into.
This film fails on all counts and insults my intelligence - hell it insults my dog's intelligence (well it would if I had a dog...). It deserves its position at the back of the Walmart bargain bin.
At least to make the abduction (and the continuing threat of killing the kid ) believable there should be regular communication between Brosnan's character and his accomplice. Without this I don't know how the writer/director expected us to buy the plot. As far as I am concerned, that is the linchpin of the story.
This "film" ended for me in the first few minutes. The twists and turns that come after that are simple time wasters. I learned a lesson, though. Next time I check for IMDb rating, I will also see the number of people who voted for it.
This exciting picture is packed with suspense, thrills, mystery,tension and extraordinary plot twists.Tense and stirring film with a moving race against time. This Hichcockian movie deals about a successful executive and wife when their daughter is taken hostage and suffer a brutal blackmail. Gripping, original action movie with the main actors desperately trying to find out the means avoid his daughter to be murdered. Excellent thriller full of intrigue and tense, this is a fast-paced, stylized action-suspense film. The tension of this picture keeps snowballing as the clock ticks ever close for killing the daughter. The tale appear to unfold in real time and most unusual is the device of having the victim play desperado and hunt the killers, and saving his daughter , as time runs out. Casting is frankly magnificent, Gerard Butler as tormented father, Maria Bello as affected mummy and Pierce Brosnan, also producer, takes honors as a sociopath who attempts to turn the tables on the victim before he can free his daughter. Adequate musical score accompanying the action by Robert Duncan and inventively photographed by Ashley Rowe. The motion picture is stunningly directed by Mike Binder. He's a nice director working usually for television as ¨Moby Dick¨, ¨Sea wolf¨ ,¨Lorna Doone¨ and occasionally for cinema as ¨A good woman¨, ¨To kill a king¨ and of course ¨Butterfly on a wheel¨ his best movie. Rating : Good film, above average and worthwhile watching .
Every phrase, every utterance, and every exchange has been heard a hundred thousand times before. Every action, every event, and every scene has been seen a hundred thousand times before.
"Butterfly on a Wheel" is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in the race to be the most predictable, god-awful piece of crap in the history of storytelling.
Words cannot express how utterly tired I am of these painful trips into the recycle bin of motion pictures.
Awful movie in every way. I wish I could rate it 0/10. Or -395/10.
But it didn't. It just got worse and worse... and worse, and finally resolved itself with exactly the manipulative end-game that I'd feared.
The plotting is mostly crude artifice (as opposed to the carefully crafted artifice of a fine movie). The acting is overdone, but only because they stayed with the overblown script. I'm curious how or why an experienced actor like Brosnan didn't see that before filming even started.
Apparently, this film was never released into cinemas. That's no hard to understand. It is, really, a hateful mean-spirited film, with no redeeming virtues. I do not recommend it to anyone.