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
Near the end, the case Beachum reviews regarding double jeopardy is People v. Bivens, 282 Cal. Rptr. 438, 231 Cal. App. 3d (Cal. Ct. App., 1991). Under Bivens, California can prosecute Crawford for murder, even though it arises out of the same transaction as a defendant's prior case. See more »
As Jennifer Crawford pulls into her driveway, she passes a sign that reads "Parking Lot Full", apparently referring to the Crawford's property. See more »
Very elaborate and detailed production design contributes a sense of authenticity to this story, set in Los Angeles, about a highly intelligent and wealthy older man named Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) who kills his unfaithful wife. He then dares the criminal justice system, in the person of assistant district attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), to convict him. That Crawford likes playing games with the system quickly becomes apparent, and is the force that propels the plot forward.
The story has some believability issues. I question how Crawford can know all that he knows, with such certainty. There are also some problems toward the film's end that involve hospital protocol. And the overall plot progression depends on various contrivances that include, but are not limited to, police procedures. The entire concept borders on implausibility. But, if you don't pay too much attention to these annoying little details, the plot does roll merrily along with some good drama and suspense.
Anthony Hopkins is well cast as Crawford, and gives a predictably adroit performance. I would not have cast Ryan Gosling, with his boyish looks, as an assistant DA. Nevertheless, Gosling's performance is both lively and credible. And it's the back and forth verbal sparring between these two that make "Fracture" so entertaining.
The film's color cinematography is very good, and includes some unusual camera angles. I also liked the use of a wide-angle lens in the courtroom scenes. And sound effects, so often ignored in many films, further add to the realism of the settings.
Dialogue is generally effective, and includes some witty lines. When Willy's boss talks with him about being taken off the case, Willy responds: "Even if I find new evidence?" To which his boss retorts: "From where, the evidence store?"
Despite a seriously flawed script, "Fracture" is a highly absorbing movie, thanks largely to meticulous production values, and to shrewd performances from Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling.
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