Maria BelloJudging by its story line, one could be forgiven for thinking the new Turner Network Television made-for-TV movie Shattered is another of the many woefully undermotivated suspense stories featuring an insane villain and sensational, violent, titillating subject matter. Consider TNT"s official description:

A happy couple with a seemingly perfect life has their daughter abducted. Over the course of a day, the kidnapper dismantles the family’s lives with brutal efficiency.

And that’s pretty much how it plays out.

For the first three-quarters of the film’s running time.

Pierce Brosnan plays the crazy man who for entirely unfathomable reasons has kidnapped the daughter of a wealthy couple played by Gerard Butler and Maria Bello, and he gives the character the typical crazy attitude with which we’re agonizingly familiar from numerous similar movies and TV episodes. And nothing he does is motivated except by a completely unexplained, intense hatred of the central couple.

Of course, the smart viewer is always on the lookout for plot twists, but the major one in Shatered takes the form more of a thematic twist, and it is a very good one. For the story quite abruptly becomes an examination of the pain that adultery causes those who are left behind by the selfish adulterer. As such, the story moves from a sensationalistic, nonmoral narrative to a very moral one indeed, and is rather moving at that.

One can see why Mel Gibson’s film company, Icon, chose to produce the film and why TNT decided to run it. It’s not a great movie, by any means, if only because the first hour of the film will strike intelligent viewers as frustratingly unmotivated—but in the end it’s a rather honorable endeavor.

The movie will be rerun on Saturday, September 8, 10:30PM EDT.