Wealthy, brilliant, and meticulous Ted Crawford, a structural engineer in Los Angeles, shoots his wife and entraps her lover. He signs a confession; at the arraignment, he asserts his rights to represent himself and asks the court to move immediately to trial. The prosecutor is Willy Beachum, a hotshot who's soon to join a fancy civil-law firm, told by everyone it's an open and shut case. Crawford sees Beachum's weakness, the hairline fracture of his character: Willy's a winner. The engineer sets in motion a clockwork crime with all the objects moving in ways he predicts. Written by
By the expert's testimony in court we are informed that Ted Crawford's bullet pierced through the frontal cortex in the temporal lobe coming to rest upon the upper side of the brain against the skull. Yet when we see wife Jennifer's head hit the floor for a brief moment in a close-up, there is no injury visible at all. Furthermore in another scene Ted points to his left cheek bone when he describes where he shot his wife. Such an injury is very different from that described during the trial. The shot was fired at close range with a powerful .45, which makes it very unlikely that the bullet would come to rest within the skull. See more »
Blessed with a smart script, stylish direction and first-rate performances by Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling, "Fracture" emerges as more than just the "Silence of the Lambs" knock-off it would appear to be on the surface.
In a role reminiscent of a somewhat toned-down (i.e. non-cannabilistic) Hannibal Lecter, Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a wealthy L.A. businessman who shoots his wife when he discovers she's having an affair with a hostage negotiator. Crawford readily admits to the crime, giving the police a signed confession and insisting on defending himself in court. Gosling is Willy Beachum, a cocky, up-and-coming public prosecutor who takes the case believing it will be one last slam-dunk victory for him before he moves on to bigger and better things at a prestigious private law firm downtown. Beachum gets more than he bargained for, however, when the creepy and unnerving Crawford begins to play the legal system for all it's worth, tweaking the hotshot lawyer by outthinking him and continually knocking him off his game.
In less capable hands, "Fracture" could easily have been a standard-issue, twist-and-turn courtroom drama, but thanks to the talents involved, it transcends the limitations of its genre. Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers have written a screenplay filled with witty, crackling dialogue and sharply observed insights into the psyches of its two principal characters. Hopkins and Gosling play the cat-and-mouse game with conviction and gusto, while director Gregory Hoblit and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau use a smoothly gliding camera and a barely perceptible visual distortion at the edges of the picture to highlight the "fractured" nature of the piece. Moreover, the film has a nice L.A. feel to it, as it takes us to various interesting sites around town, including the ultra-modern, near-surrealistic Disney Concert Hall located in the heart of the city.
There is strong supporting work by David Straitharn ("Good Night, and Good Luck"), Billy Burke, Rosamund Pike and Fiona Shaw ("Mountains of the Moon"), among others, but it is Hopkins and Gosling, locked in a life-or-death battle of acumen and wits, who make "Fracture" a perpetually compelling and watchable courtroom thriller.
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