Universal // 1998 // 103 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Harold Gervais (Retired) // February 29th, 2000
Some movies are so bad they become good, or at the very least, funny. Others are just plain bad. Shattered Image is worse.
I always thought it was funny when Gene Siskel or Roger Ebert would complain about bad movies being a waste of their time and how they would come to resent that film. After sitting through Shattered Image, I know how they felt. Anne Parillaud (La Femme Nikita) plays a hit woman named Jessie who has just accepted a contract to kill an antique and art dealer named Bryan, played by William Baldwin (Sliver). All the while she is also living in a dream state where she becomes a newlywed, also named Jessie, whose husband is also named Bryan. In the dream state, instead of being cool and in control, she is nervous and paranoid. Or is she? Also in her dream, she comes to think that her husband Bryan is trying to kill her, thus gaining control of her fortune. Where does the dream end and reality begin? Valid questions, but in the case of Shattered Image...who really cares?
Whenever I see any of the Baldwin brothers these days, I think of the bombs Trey Parker and Matt Stone dropped on them in South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Believe me when I tell you they had the right idea. To say that William Baldwin's acting is wooden takes away from the beauty of a forest. As for Anne Paillaud, well, she has nice breasts. Which she bares at every opportune moment.
I understand what screenwriter Duane Poole and director Raul Ruiz were after here. They are trying to show a rape victim dealing with her experience when her personalities split into two and the attempts to bring them back together again. Not the most original idea for a film, but still a valid topic. In the right hands it would not make for a bad film. Poole and Ruiz are not the right hands. Ruiz tries every trick from the bag of Hitchcock and DePalma in an attempt to make the film relevant. All he ends up with is pretension and boredom.
Seven Arts released the film and the disc put out by Universal. I don't know what the original aspect ratio of the film is because it is presented here in 1.33:1 full frame. Of course, nothing much is going on front and center so I can't imagine I was missing anything. The picture is solid. Colors are bright and blacks are black. Soundwise it is 4.0 Dolby Surround and it is also presented well. The dialogue, if you care to listen to it, is clear and mostly forward oriented.
I wasted enough time on the movie. Thank god there are no extras.
Well, to say that Shattered Image is a bad movie is an insult to bad movies everywhere. To paraphrase an old U.S. government newsreel, if you see this movie, duck and cover, because Shattered Image blows.
Everyone involved with this movie is convicted of wasting an hour and 43 minutes of life's precious time. It is my hope to never see any of these people in my court ever again. Case Dismissed.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailer