Fracture Movie Review
Anthony Hopkins plays an insidious villain once again and Ryan Gosling, coming off an Oscar-nominated performance in Half Nelson, stars as the prosecuting attorney trying to put him away for good in Fracture, a good but hardly flawless drama-thriller.
Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a brilliant scientist who comes to the realization that his wife is cheating on him with another man. So, one day, casually and without remorse, who shoots his wife in the head. When the police come in, he confesses, murder weapon in hand. Or did he? Enter up-and-coming Willy Beachum, a star DA who is working his last case before going private and making lots of money. He reluctantly takes on Crawford's case, expecting it to be a quick and painless trial; instead, he finds Crawford a cunning and manipulative adversary who has planned out the perfect murder. The murder weapon suddenly doesn't exist. The confession is thrown out. The lead detective is taken off the case. Can Beachum figure out a way to put Crawford away, or will the man get away with murder?
Many critics have compared Hopkins' character here to his award-winning role of Hannibal Lecter, most saying it is generally a subdued copy of a bigger and better villain. But anytime you get compared to Hannibal Lecter and "sucking it up" isn't involved in the same sentence, I'd say that's a good comparison. Hopkins has every right to play another villain in his acting career, and Crawford is a great character. He's smart, ruthless and loves to rub it in the faces of everyone who "knows" the truth. Regardless of the character, Hopkins delivers a terrific performance - no one else could do it better.
Gosling, who is always fun to watch in any film he does (he seems to get better with every passing year), is also at the top of his game. He plays a slightly sleazy yet likable attorney who wants to do the right thing, but who also wants the fame and fortune that go along with his profile. The result is a very convincing character of a man who almost crosses the line multiple times but pulls back at the last second, perhaps not for his self dignity but because of the damage it could do to his reputation and career. Gosling plays off Hopkins well, even if Hopkins does eat him alive in several scenes.
The acting is what makes the movie, but Fracture also offers an intriguing, slightly twisty story. I guessed the big twist an hour before it happened, but still wasn't completely convinced it was going to happen until I saw it on screen. Fracture maintains a high degree of tension throughout most of the film, and has enough twists, turns and surprises to keep things going.
That being said, Fracture does have its slow moments, especially near the end of the second act. The story spends quite a bit of time spinning its wheels as Beachum attempts to figure out how to keep Crawford in jail, and not much happens for a good half an hour stretch. The movie maintains itself well enough, but tightening in a few places as well as some more complex subplots could have made things a bit more interesting.
Fracture is not without some issues, and certainly could have been cut by about 10 or 15 minutes, but it features some good performances and a fun story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This one will make a good rental.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.