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Shattered Image

Starring Anne Parillaud and William Baldwin
Screenplay by Duane Poole
Directed by Raul Ruiz
Website: www.lionsgate-ent.com

IN SHORT:  A Dreadful film, strictly for eager beaver film students.

The opening sequences of Raul Ruiz' Shattered Image will have film students sticking to their seats, that's how visually stunning it is. The sequence ends with a murder, which is the cue for you non-film students, who ignored Cranky's more than generous rating and paid cold hard cash for tickets to this awful flick, to get the hell out of the theater. You'll save yourself an additional ninety minutes of pain, boredom, bewilderment and/or disbelief as you try to piece together this tale of split personalities, dream precognition and artsy-fartsy imagery. The script, by teevee scribe Duane Poole overflows with half sentences, intentionally confusing relationships and pregnant pauses, none of which give the actors anything to work with.

Ruiz' international rep is such that the production team is filled with names of note (at least for those of us who read press notes): director Barbet Schroeder as producer, cinematographer Robby Muller (ten films by Wim Wenders and last year's impressive Breaking the Waves) and Anne Parillaud the original La Femme Nikita as the femme lead. William Baldwin, star of one of the few movies that Cranky has ever walked out of (that's a whole 'nother story and Billy wasn't at fault) tops the male slate. The surest sign of how bad Shattered Image is, is the godawful presence of Graham Greene, an actor whose work I admire, in a muddled double role that gets both his characters killed and forces the actor to expound in two, count 'em two, wretched accents.

For those who really need to know: Jessie Number One (Parrillaud)-- looking like the Neil Gaiman/Mike Dringenberg Death character (coming eventually to a screen near you) aged 30 years -- is a killer for hire, but only of men. She was attacked once, you see, and it's all part of a psychological revenge thing. Jessie #1 has dreams about Jessie Number Two, a newlywed honeymooning at a Jamaican resort with husband Brian (Baldwin), who rescued her following a very similar attack. Jessie #2, who once attempted suicide by slashing her wrists, has dreams about Jessie #1, who hasn't but may before this thing is over.

By the time that ending thankfully occurs, Jessie #1 has the scars on the wrist and Jessie #2 has become a murderer. Lots of screen images, as well as prop mirrors and windows, shatter -- thus the title -- and you will have checked your watch at least three times (reviewers on both side of Cranky did. I checked four times). I've already mentioned Graham Greene, both of whose characters exists to misdirect and spout quasi-mystical BS.

I forgot to mention the Jamaican Witchy Woman (Leonie Forbes) who may or may not be a mental health care professional and the "other woman" of the story (co-producer Lisanne Falk, in a double role). As well as a ton of spilling beverages, that being a recurring visual thing, as is the oral fixation preceded by two finger taps on the cigarette or pill, whatever, that both Jessie's affect. Either Poole is being way too damned clever for his own good, or Ruiz is being too damned obvious. Either way, it's nothing but a distraction. Finally, the underscore by Jorge Arriagada lifts just enough of Johnny Mercer's song "A Summer Wind" to make an aural impression, but not enough of it (3 bars by my count) to pay the man's estate.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Shattered Image, he would have paid...


It isn't that Cranky grades harder at Oscar® wannabe time of the year, which he does. Shattered Image would have landed the big Zippo at any time of the year. Pass it by.

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The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2015   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.