Butterfly on a Wheel (also known as Shattered, for some reason) is a 2007 movie starring Pierce Brosnan, as a kidnapper who reprises the sinister stare into a driver’s rear view mirror that many of us remember from that great film The Long Good Friday. Since that early appearance, Brosnan has become a superstar, but he still conveys menace better than most.
The set-up of the story is straightforward. An apparently perfect Chicago family comprises a rising corporate executive called Randall (Gerard Butler), his gorgeous wife (Maria Bello) and their adorable daughter. But the mysterious Brosnan is watching Randall, and when he catches up with the couple, he makes it clear that their little girl has been kidnapped, and that they must do his bidding.
His first step is to force them to withdraw their life savings – and he then sets fire to them. Various other humiliations follow. Brosnan is playing mind games with Randall. But what isn’t clear is his motive – is there some hidden connection with Randall’s work that explains the terrifying sequence of events?
This is a taut and pacy thriller, and Robert Duncan’s soundtrack music is in the moody John Barry style. The double twist of the ending took me by surprise, even though it probably shouldn’t have done. Brosnan is a powerful presence on the screen, and although there were (perhaps inevitably) some implausibilities in the plot, on the whole I thought it worked very well. The premise may seem formulaic, but the story-line proves to be out of the ordinary. Good entertainment.