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Movie Review

Fragments a.k.a. “Winged Creatures,” “Akrovates tis zois,” “O Efeito da Fúria,” “Winged creatures—Il giorno del destinos”

MPAA Rating: R for violent content, sexuality and language.

Reviewed by: Elisa A. Walker
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Crime, Drama
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2009
USA Release:
DVD: August 4, 2009
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Relevant Issues
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Religion

Family

Money

Prostitution

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Fornication

Sex, Love & Relationships
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About murder in the Bible

Sin and the Bible

Death in the Bible

Final judgment

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

Hope

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Featuring: Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Forest Whitaker, Marshall Allman, James Babson, Jacquie Barnbrook, Ankur Bhatt, Kevin Cooney, Embeth Davidtz, Michael Drummond, Kevin Durand, Andrew Fiscella, Soren Fulton, Gina Gallego, Ted Garcia, Troy Garity, Walton Goggins, Beth Grant, Tim Guinee, Jackie Earle Haley, Gwen Holloway, Jennifer Hudson, Josh Hutcherson, Cohl Klop, Mela Lee, Elaine Loh, Brooke Mackenzie, Hayley McFarland, Jamie McShane, Debrah Neal, Lu Parker, Randall Park, Lara Phillips, Tarina Pouncy, Jeff Rector, Santos Reyes, Al Ruscio, Kent Shocknek, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Robin Weigert, Whittni Wright
Director: Rowan Woods
Producer: Artina Films, RGM Entertainment, Unruly Films, Gilbert Alloul, Naomi Despres, John Flock, John J. Kelly, Robert Salerno, Lewin Webb
Distributor: Sony Pictures

“You have to lose your way to find it.”

After a shooting takes place in a diner, its victims are forced to piece their shattered lives back together. They all deal with their pain and grief in different ways, though they attempt to pick up the broken pieces and go back to their normal lives, the victims soon realize that they must face what happened in the diner.

With an all-star cast, “Fragments,” is a chilling tale of how people cope with tragedies; some find religion, some find family, some find money, but in the end, it is up to the victim to decide what happens next.

Morality Issues

Profanity: There are 17 uses of profanity, which I found to be mild for an R-rated film. There are 2 uses of “damn”, 9 uses of “f***”, 1 use of “G**damn”, 2 uses of “Hell”, 2 uses of “sh**”, and 1 use of “prick”. There were also 8 uses of OMG. As was previously stated, the cursing was mild for an R-rated film, but that does not mean the profanity used was acceptable. I had a problem with the 1 use of the Lord’s name in vain, it just wasn’t necessary, the use of the “F” word is debatable since this is an R film and is expected, but the word itself is horrible.

Violence: Since the entire film revolves around the shooting, it can be expected that there is violence. The violence was kept pretty moderate for an R film. A shooting takes place in a diner, so people are shot and one man is shown in a pool of blood. There is also a hospital scene, where patients are covered in blood and surgery takes place that is somewhat graphic, but could be found on “E.R.” or “Grey’s Anatomy,” so nothing too horrible.

Dr. Bruce Laraby (Guy Pearce) tries to revive one of his patients with paddles, but the patient is brain dead. All of the victims of the shooting have several flashbacks that re-enact what took place from their perspective in the shooting. Charlie Archenault (Forest Whitaker) borrows money from a man, but doesn’t pay up, so the same man breaks his arm with a piece of cement, no blood is shown, but there is the sound of an arm breaking. The violence was kept moderate and was well placed and only used for realistic purposes.

Sexuality: The sex was very vulgar, inappropriate and unnecessary; as usual, directors forget how good of a movie they have made and try to spice it up with sex, when, in reality, it isn’t needed. Dr. Bruce Laraby and his wife Joan (Embeth Davidtz) have a brief bedroom scene, where Bruce’s backside can be seen and semi-graphic noises can be heard; there is also a brief and clean kissing scene between the couple, and Bruce is seen in his pajamas with his shirt off. Carla Davenport (Kate Beckinsale) has a very vulgar sex scene with a man, he can be seen humping her and the noise is very graphic, the scene is horrible. Charlie is solicited by a prostitute, and she performs oral sex on him, and her breasts are shown with her in underwear. And Carla is drunk at a bar and is grinding on a random drunk man. Also, Anne Hagen (Dakota Fanning) pecks Jimmy Jaspersen (Josh Hutcherson) on the cheek and on the lips. Again, the sex was so needless, because the storyline was so strong; and yes, sex is one way that one of the characters copes with the shooting, however, they didn’t have to show it.

Miscellaneous: Jimmy contemplates committing suicide while on the edge of a building, but Anne convinces him to come down. Joan can be seen vomiting after being drugged by Bruce. Carla cannot deal with what happened, so she starts neglecting her baby. There are a couple instances of people drinking, but nothing over the top. Charlie is seen gambling at a casino and can be seen urinating but nothing is shown, but he ends up urinating blood out.

Spiritual Issues

The movie actually had a very good view of God and leaning on Him in times of need—several crosses appear throughout the movie. ***SPOILER WARNING*** After the shooting, Anne is left to deal with her grief of what happened and turns to God for help. She prays fervently and starts a prayer program at her school to help others who are in need. Although she takes it to an extreme and refuses to grieve for her loss, she strives to lean on God and in the end comes to a balance and realizes that she has to allow herself to grieve. ***END SPOILER***

Several times, people thank God for their loved ones being kept safe, and a doctor admits to his colleague that they can’t play God and sometimes they don’t get to decide who lives and who dies. In Matthew 11, Jesus tells his followers to come to Him for rest.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

The main flaw with this film is the sexuality, it is very inappropriate and unnecessary. The bedroom scenes should not have been shown; why not end the scene with kissing, instead of ruining the entire movie with vulgar sex scenes. Sex is for a married couple, yes the Larabys were under the cover of their marriage, but they didn’t need to show the whole world the benefits of marriage. Carla and Charlie had no business committing sexual acts with individuals that were not their spouses.

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

My Recommendation

Because this film failed so horribly in the sexual arena, I cannot recommend it for entertainment purposes, especially for those under the age of 18 because of its content. However, this film was deeply moving and really makes the viewer think. The cast was amazing (Forest Whitaker, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Josh Hutcherson, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Kate Beckinsale), you don’t get a better ensemble than that. They do a tremendous job, the viewer really feels for what the characters go through, and many discussions can come out of the storyline. The story is outstanding and realistic, so it tells the story how it would happen in real life and ends realistically. The independent film genre is growing on me and really makes movies into works of art. I do recommend this film for educational purposes, for example, this would be a great film for psychology students who are interested in going into therapy/counseling, the movie shows realistically how people would try and cope with a tragedy. “Fragments” is a masterful film that is ruined by vulgar sexuality, and in the end, its fate is decided by you, the viewer. Is it worth the compromise? You decide.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—After a shooting spree in a quiet town diner, the characters in this independent film directed by Rowan Woods, try to put their lives back together again, but during the days that follow the shooting, things begin to get worse, and the people involved seem to be losing it, one day at a time.

With a star studded cast, including Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (“Last King Of Scotland”), Academy award winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dream Girls”) young acting fenom Dakota Fanning, together with Kate Beckinsale, Guy Pearce, and Jean Tripplehorn who, as usual, is effortless in her acting, this movie is so character driven and impeccably acted that you forget you are actually watching a movie and that these people are only pretending.

The film begins with the actual shooting taking place and through “fragmented” scenes you begin to piece together what really happened at the diner on that fateful day when their lives were changed forever. The story is concentrated on what happens to these people after the incident, so we never know what led the shooter to make the decision, which includes shooting himself. This is a character study, and one of those films like the film “Crash” which puts a lot of questions out there about love, forgiveness, and what ifs?

While Carla (Kate Beckinsale) begins to fantasize about the handsome Dr. (Guy Pearce), poor Charley (Whitaker) tries to make sense of what happened to him by gambling away everything he has, and going on an all out winning streak, only to lose it all again—all while drinking too much.

Then Guy Pearce’s young Dr. begins to experiment on his own wife by drugging her just to find his own self worth, inducing migraines and then drugging her again to take them away. He begins to feel God-like only to spiral out of control, yet it is Dakota Fanning who is the most intense. She seems to be the most in control, emotionally, but as Annie (Fanning) tries to focus on her own faith and direct all those around her toward God, she is made to look like some obsessed Christian, her prayers being very poetic, though at one point she closes a prayer by saying “in the Name of Thy only Son.” In another scene, her mother speaks to a counselor by telling him that “her daughter talks like a born-again non-stop, though she hasn’t been to church in a very long time.” God is spoken of often, though only by Fanning, who is looked at by her friends and family like a strange person having a strange reaction to her father’s untimely death.

The subject of forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-2) is brought up as are hatred (Proverbs 10:12), anger (Proverbs 14:17), fear (Psalm 27:1), and grief, but never really dealt with. These people are all out of control emotionally, which is normal with this kind of post-traumatic stress like behavior, and the film comes to a climax as the end reveals deeply kept secrets resulting in more pain.

Bad language is used several times with the “F” word being said ten times, and the Lord’s name being taken in vain twice, and prostitution is implied leading up to one of the mentioned sex scenes.

God is the ultimate healer and just talking about your hurt and everything else mentioned here wont help us, He is the one for us to cling to, God has solutions to our problems. 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” The only One who can forgive all the sins people are shown committing in this film Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Gambling, prostitution, sex outside of marriage, drinking (1 Corinthians 6:11 ), and even suicide and depression are shown—and none of these things are the answers to life’s questions, Titus 2:11-12.

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Jesus Christ paid the redemptive price for our sins. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not die but have everlasting life,” and trying to gamble, sleep, and lie our way through our problems only cheapens that price.

There is enough female nudity to not encourage Christians to see it… Though the story is good—and the acting great, I would not recommend this film, especially in a family situation.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Nory Garcia (USA)