SHATTERED. MGM, 1991. Tom Berenger, Bob Hoskins, Greta Scacchi, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Corbin Bernsen. Screenplay: Wolfgang Petersen, based on the novel The Plastic Nightmare (Ace, 1969), by Richard Neely. Director: Wolfgang Petersen.

   I missed this one when it first came out, but I read the book, and it knocked my socks off. The movie’s just as good, I think, and based on reading the reviews and comments you can find on IMDb now, the twist at the end has apparently knocked the socks off everyone who’s seen at as well.

   But not always in a good way. Some have gone so far as to point out that the twist at the end simply doesn’t make any sense, and to tell you the truth, they’re not so very far from wrong. This is the kind of twist, though, that a reviewer can’t talk about without revealing the whole point of the movie, not without spoiler warnings, and I’ve decided not to do that, in case you haven’t seen the movie and there’s a more than even chance that someday you will.

   And I think you should.

   Here’s the basic story, though. As it so happens very often at the beginning of many a noir or neo-nour movie, a car goes off a cliff with two people inside, a husband and wife. Miraculously both survive, she with barely a scratch, he with severe injuries, including massive overall body trauma. She nurses him back to health, with the aid of hordes or doctors and surgeons.

   Unfortunately, he has a certain kind of amnesia that affects only his personal memories. He know how to do everyday kinds of things, but he can’t remember anything personal about himself nor about the people he should know, including his wife, his job, his colleagues, his friends. Nothing.

   All seems well, though, until certain incongruent details start coming to the surface. Their marriage, he is reluctantly told, was on the rocks. She was suspected of having an affair, they were constantly fighting, and he himself may have had a thing with his partner’s wife.

   He even discovers that he had hired a private detective (Bob Hoskins) to spy on his wife, and he tells the husband that perhaps that perhaps the accident was no accident at all.

   There you have it. Complicated? In a word, yes, but I *think* the details fit the ending. I will have to go back and watch this movie again to see. This is a handsome production and getting to the ending is fine — fun, in fact. But in the end it’s the ending that will make or break how you feel about this movie. If you can swallow it, you’re fine. Otherwise, not.