Saturday, June 22, 2013
Initially I didn't understand Fractional or where it was intending to lead. My initial impression, as the film opens to a similar torture porn construct, was exactly that, another torture porn. The sub-genre often surprises though and as Fractional unraveled the body may be meant for the genre but the soul of the film is entirely psychological. Its about the unabridged horrors that the human mind is exhausted through, may that be loss or insanity, etc and in how that torture drives us. The story structure is a bit jagged, moving swiftly between hours and days, and comes off oddly paced. There's minimal gore as despite a quite lovely display of harmful instruments most of the torture is the extent which is done on to the mind. The general setting of the film takes place in one room, the dark warehouse that John is trapped in, but flashes to past moments to give us a pleasant change of scenery. Yet nothing escapes the grim tone of the rather dreary subject matter in the film.
John's character is a fair counter to the mind game of Crowe, his darker past and professional insight useful weapons as the victim. Desmond Daly is decent as the lead and responds well off Peter O'Toole. Crowe's character takes precedence as the far more interesting character though, as he's a variety of psycho that would get along well in a ward with the big league monsters. O'Toole has acquired depth to his role and with director Malcolm Deegan creates a disturbing but mastered villain. There's a particular moment in the film where Crowe has an honest confessional of what he's responsible for in John's past that is played out like a conductor instructing an orchestra, the acting with the choice of music makes the moment both lovely and chilling. Other choices such as leaving the camera on Crowe for an uncomfortable amount of time give him a sinister advantage or by using the echos off the wall give his voice an otherworldly feel.
films website, and I'd recommend it as a good watch.