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"Fracture" (2007) is directed by Gregory Hoblit who has also made
"Frequency" (2000), "Fallen" (1998) both of which I like and "Primal
Fear" (1996) - his feature debut that I love.
Crime /Thriller/Mystery /Court Drama are among my favorite genres and as long as the combination of these genres is clever, gripping, atmospheric, well acted, keeps me guessing and entertains me, I am happy. I know that many viewers were very insightful and figured out the twists and the ending within first half of hour or so but I did not and I was impressed by the way the disappearance of the crucial evidence had been handled - very clever. Besides being an entertaining crime movie, the most interesting element of "Fracture" is a struggle of wills and intellects between two main characters, self-made inventor - millionaire Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) who shot his unfaithful wife in the face and put her in a coma and young, successful and smart assistant D.A. Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), who has a 97% conviction rate and is assigned to prosecute Crawford just when he is ready to accept a lucrative offer from the prestigious LA law firm. The game of cat and mouse that highly intelligent and malevolent Crawford plays with Beachum makes the film interesting and the scenes between Hopkins (in his "playful Dr. Lector" mode) and Gosling (whose character does change as he realizes what he is dealing with from the unsympathetic self-centered hot shot to the man who becomes obsessed by the case, vows to put the murderer behind the bars and makes it his priority) - riveting and joy to watch. I also would like to mention David Strathairn as Willy's boss, DA Joe Lobuto in yet another understated effective performance. Strathairn's Lobuto is so interesting that he could be a main character in another move. "Fracture" is not perfect. For example, Willy's affair with Nikki Gardner (Rosamund Pike), a beautiful lawyer and his perspective boss was lifeless - they did not have any chemistry together. I think that Nikki's purpose in the movie was to introduce Willy to her father, a judge, whose help he would desperately need in one of the later scenes. I'd rather prefer more scenes between Willy and Crawford but even the way it was, the movie kept my attention all the way through and despite the rather weak ending, I found "Fracture" quite good.
I thought the intellectual chess game between Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling was pure joy. What a pleasure to watch the two play mind games with each other -- with the audience in on the action. Thought the pace was good, the direction suspenseful. The only aspect of the movie that I would say was less than A+ was the love interest between Ryan Gosling and Rosamund Pike. I thought it a bit confusing that she was both his boss and his love interest. Not sure they needed the full love interest in the plot. All in all, a most entertaining movie. Other than that, the plot line of the legal case was engaging, understandable and realistic. I highly recommend it to those interested in movies that make you think.
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.
The tagline of this film sounds interesting, but also shows the movie's
thin plot. 'I shot my wife. Prove it.' Ultimately, the film is smart
and witty and keeps you intrigued the entire time as you try find a way
to do what the tagline asks you to. However, that's it. Naturally,
Anthony Hopkins can do now wrong and 'newbie' Ryan Gosling does really
well. Together in a scene, these two are awesome.
What I like about this film is that it totally focuses on the Hopkins/Gosling story-line. In many other films like these there's always that the policemen/attorneys (in this case Gosling) fall in love and then mess it up/ruin their marriage because the case is tearing them apart, you know the drill. There's always some sub story-line involving romance. Gosling finds romance in this movie with Rosamund Pike's character, but it doesn't evolve into another story-line. It doesn't take Willy Beachum's (Ryan Gosling) eyes off the price and even when it falls apart, he doesn't appear to care much (it's all about getting Crawford behind bars) or to feel a need to make it right. I like that. I mean, I love romance in films, but this movie shouldn't be about that and it's not.
Also, the fact that Ted Crawford (Hopkins) is in complete control over everything and everyone in this film astonishes me. This man plays roles like these so well! He just keeps you glued to the screen. The way he is in charge of Willy for (almost!) the entire film is just enjoyable to watch, making the end of the film even more enjoyable when the story comes out and the roles change.
Another reason to praise Gosling for the way he portrayed Willy Beachum. Anthony Hopkins is a legend. He is what draws people to theatres and he is one of the most brilliant actors of all times. Plus, he portrays such a strong character here that I can't help but praise Gosling for holding his own in a very strong manner. Scenes with Gosling are entertaining to watch. You feel drawn to him in almost the same way you feel drawn to Hopkins, even though Willy is in a dark place for most of the film and is hardly in control. Gosling's got great timing.
The story-line might be a little thin and fragile, the outcome is worth it. The movie surprises in more than one way, not in the last place because of the pretty much brilliant performances of both actors. Gosling is going to be big.
I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed watching this film as I
heard many positive critical reviews before going into it so I had high
expectations to begin with. However I was not let down one bit since
"Fracture" more than held its own. It contained a very simple plot
structure but also offered a very original take on a different type of
court case. While it might not be possible in real life, it worked
magic on the big screen and transformed into an excellent film almost
within the first few minutes.
Even though Sir Anthony Hopkins played a role almost exactly identical to that of his previous Hannibal Lecter, it was still great to see him back in this form because that's what I always thought he was best at: the maniacal genius. Although I will admit he does have an incredible range. He didn't add anything new to his character that we haven't seen him do before, yet I still loved watching him whenever he was on the screen. The big shock for me was Ryan Gosling. I knew he was a good actor and that he has been in some great movies but this was his best performance by far. He just calmly waltzed into each scene and was able to hold his own against the veteran Hopkins. Gosling's natural ability is simply breathtaking with how much of it he was blessed with. Any doubts of him I had before are now officially thrown out the window. The rest of the ensemble was at least adequate and the only one who I was a little disappointed in was Billy Burke since he didn't seem completely convincing.
There is somewhat of a twist waiting for the viewer at the final showdown and what I loved about it was it wasn't thrown in there for no reason. It actually went with the story, which is what's supposed to happen but hasn't lately in numerous other cases. It won't throw you for a complete loop but rather ties up some loose ends that had me scratching my head up until then. While there's elements of the legal proceedings that are completely Hollywoodized and could in no way happen in real life, I didn't seem to mind at all and was actually glad they did that. This was most likely because it flowed with the story and offered a fresh perspective.
"Fracture" will be one of those small cinematic feats that goes overlooked and prematurely fades into oblivion but for those that do get to see it you won't be disappointed. You may not agree with some parts and might even spot some dead on plot flaws, but if you can overlook that and instead focus on the film as a whole you are in for a treat. The courtroom drama is suspenseful and is presented just as it should be. The quips taken from both sides are clever and offer some well-timed comic relief. The love story while not necessarily essential didn't take anything away from the other parts either. Job well done to mostly everyone on this production, this was a tightly wrought law thriller that was no chip off the old block by any means!
Fracture is the story of Ted Crawford (Hopkins), a rich engineer who
shoots his wife after discovering she is having an affair. When the
police arrive, he confesses and hands in his weapon, and the case is
passed on to hotshot DDA Willy Beachum (Gosling), who sees this, his
final public service trial before he moves onwards and upwards, to be a
slam-dunk case; but alas, thanks to Crawford's mind games, things are
not what they seem and the case undergoes a series of twists and turns
as Crawford and Beachum engage in a tense battle of wits.
The most obviously noticeable thing about Fracture is the how well-polished it all is. The whole thing looks so...expensive. The cars are expensive. The phones are expensive...even the cutlery during the Thanksgiving dinner scene looks expensive. Beachum seems to wear a new suit in every scene, and even the outdoor location shots look glossy; South California looks like it has been lacquered up especially for the camera lens.
It's all very smooth, well edited, cleverly shot, and well-paced, but without these two actors, this movie would have been nothing more than a glossy second-rate courtroom "thriller". Hopkins and Gosling take it to the next level with great lead performances. Hopkins clearly enjoys playing this sort of manipulative role, controlling events, making sly remarks, and winking in that very obviously shifty way, and he gets to drive flashy cars and live in a big house while he does it, which I imagine only increases the amount of fun he has. Similarly, the cockiness arrogance of DDA Beachum allows Gosling to strut around, make wisecracks, and generally be a smug git. While the Hopkins-Gosling clashes make the movie, they are ably supported by David Straitharn, Rosamund Pike, and Billy Burke, who all inject a bit more life and background into the film.
While the ride is comfortable for the most part, Fracture slips a gear towards the end; the shift from murder mystery to moral crusade feels a little bumpy, but nonetheless, strong performances and great artistic direction make Fracture a stylish, clever and enjoyable thriller that's definitely worth a look.
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My father received movie passes from his work or something for an
exclusive premiere of this movie and we just got back from it about 2
hours ago. Wow. If you've seen the previews and trailers for this
movie, you'd think that this will be a cool cat-and-mouse thriller. And
surprisingly, it really is.
Fracture is the twisting story about a young attorney named Willy Beachum(played by Ryan Gosling) in the fast lane to success. Willy is brought into a case where a man named Ted Crawford attempted to murder his wife(Embeth Davidtz) after discovering that she had been cheating on him with the cop that had actually arrested Crawford for the attempt. This Crawford guy is pretty sick and demented, but very clever, and really knows all the rules to play a creepy mind game. When Beachum can not find any evidence proving Crawford is guilty, everything turns into an all-out psychological fight for proof. Cleverly titled Fracture, referring to a break or breaking point, Crawford tells Beachum that he will find Beachums weak spot, and will break him down.
Ryan Gosling. What a year for him- nominated for his first Academy Award for his powerful role in Half Nelson (which was excellent- go see that too) and now puts on another pitch perfect performance in Fracture. I don't think this performance will go unnoticed, and he really proved himself as one of the best actors in his generation. Amazing.
And what about Anthony Hopkins? He was nothing less than excellent for his role as the psychotic Teddy Crawford. I think that there will be no fans of Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal disappointed by his performance. Very creepy.
Not only is this film packed with drama, excitement, and suspense, it is also dusted with just enough humor to make it one of the most supremely entertaining movies of the year. Hopkins' quick wit and Gosling's humor jump off screen and brings the whole audience to many laughs.
All around, Fracture is a superior psychological thriller that keeps you guessing. I loved it, and I'm sure millions more will too.
*p.s.- about an hour and a half into the movie, watch David Strathairn's character when he goes to Beachum's house. His car is parked in one direction, and then when he goes back to it, it's in a completely different direction. i just thought i'd throw in that goof. =]*
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie Fracture was a crime movie and played as a game of cat and
mouse between an assistant DA (Ryan Gosling) and a manipulative man
name Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) who is charged with killing his
wife who was having an affair. The two leads were superb, but the
storyline was weak and the pacing ever so slow.
Ted Crawford (Hopkins) is a millionaire who one day discovers his wife is having an affair with a detective. More disappointed then angry, he confronts her at home and shoots her in the face, putting her in a coma. The detective who was having the affair with the wife comes to the crime scene where Crawford confronts him and tells him that he has shot his wife.
Once in court, Crawford becomes his own attorney, and discovers that the prosecutor trying his case is a young assistant DA name Willie Beachum (Gosling) who has a perfect record in convictions. Beachum doesn't want the case at first because he is about to move up in the world, but decides to take it when it appears as if it will be an easy conviction. However the gun that was used in the shooting can't be found, and so the game is on between both men. One who is trying to gain his freedom, and another who wants to put the killer behind bars.
Both actors were great, and it's too bad that the rest of the movie's pacing and storyline couldn't hold up. Included in the story is a lame affair between Gosling's character and his new boss to be named Nikki (Rosamund Pike.) It never really works, but I guess the movie had to have a love interest.
There were also no real surprises and no real shocking twists, other than how the murder weapon disappeared from the crime scene. That twist with the weapon was all right, but other than that, this movie offered nothing new.
I really wanted to like this movie because I liked both actors, but even their performances can't make up for all the other boring stuff that we as the viewers had to struggle through to get to the finale. The finale was nothing spectacular, but I won't dare spoil it for anybody who wants to see it. If I were the moviegoer, I would go and see this at the matinée instead. It isn't worth the 9 to 11 dollars that you will have to pay if you go during prime-time.
If you like courtroom dramas, appreciate excellent acting and an
expertly-filmed movie this is for you. Only once, I think, have I ever
proclaimed something "best movie of the year" and all that, because
it's all too subjective and also a cliché but that's how I feel about
this movie unless something better comes along the last few months of
This is just a fabulous movie with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling playing battling characters who engage in a battle of wits. Hopkins plays a husband who discovers his wife having an affair, shoots her, confesses the same night and then has things cleverly arranged where it's almost impossible to convict him. Gosling plays a young, hotshot prosecuting attorney on his way to bigger and better things with a change of scenery to corporate law but gets stuck with this open-and-shut case right before he switches firms. The trouble is, it's a lot more than he figured and he isn't used to losing. Hopkins knows this, of course, and plays on his vanity.
Gosling evolves from a me-only lawyer to someone who really wants justice, even if it costs him. Both characters are cocky and smart and the twists and turns just add to the fun.
I enjoyed watching all the actors performances and was very impressed. The camera-work by Director Of Photography Kramer Morgenthau should also be recognized, along with director Gregory Hoblit, who seems to direct very entertaining films ("Frequency," "Fallen," etc.)
I could have watched this story unfold for another two hours and would have been happy to do so, am I'm not one to sit still for long periods these days. That's how good this was....just Grade A film-making and storytelling.
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