A lot of the issues come back to the question of whether you’re watching the kind of film that cares about believable psychology or one that could not care less. It handles the distress of Sky’s roommate more sensitively than one might expect, but it also has the hero getting his leg broken with a tire iron during an attempted car break-in and then gives us zero indication of how that shockingly brutal crime might’ve affected the victim’s psyche (right afterward, he acts as if it was a minor inconvenience).
We eventually realize that we’ll never be able to figure out who Sky really is because there’s nothing inside of her head except greed and evil. Kudos, kind of, for taking one more giant step into raw, uncut sleaze by bringing in character actor Frank Grillo (the film’s other memorable performance) to play a preening, wiseass, thug-mastermind type. Grillo’s smirky delivery, New York tough guy swagger, and retro-’50s pompadour read as a deliberate invocation of Mickey Rourke, the crown prince of screen debauchery in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and the star of Michael Cimino’s remake of the home invasion thriller “The Desperate Hours,” which the final third of the film sometimes resembles (along with both versions of “Funny Games”). “Shattered” is, as you might’ve gathered, a film history-literate work that blatantly pays homage to earlier movies (the house recalls both the bad guy’s mountain fortress in “North by Northwest” and the place that Craig Wasson house-sat in “Body Double,” and not only does Chris spend most of the film in a wheelchair, the director does his own version of the dreamy wake-up kiss between Grace Kelly and James Stewart in “Rear Window”).