2007-08-02 16:50
What it’s about:

Brilliant engineer Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) discovers his wife (Embeth Davidtz) is cheating on him, and shoots her in the head, leaving her in a coma. He is arrested, and gives a full confession to the police, making it an easy last case for prosecutor Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) who is leaving public prosecution for a top job at a prestigious law firm. The tables turn when the case goes to court, as Ted has a brilliant defence strategy, giving the cocky young attorney the battle of his career.

What we thought of it:

Fracture has been billed as a tense legal drama, which is true, in one way, but for the most part it is no more involving than a decent police/law TV show. It really shows that director Gregory Hoblit spent many years directing LA Law, Hill Street Blues, and NYPD Blue, because this film could be an extended case from any of them. What gives Fracture the much-needed boost to the next level, are the performances of Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling.

Sporting a plot that doesn’t withstand very close scrutiny, Fracture will be disappointing to anyone seeking something truly cerebral. There are far too many little details that seem far-fetched, and they actually prove to be quite a distraction, seeing as the film is about a meticulously plotted murder by a highly intelligent man. The brilliant planning seems to have too much riding on coincidence, and if you start thinking about Ted Crawford’s motive, then it seems even more contrived.

Thankfully Anthony Hopkins puts on a great villainous performance, like Hannibal Lector with a lighter sense of humour, and commands attention whenever he is on screen. He makes Ted Crawford a real person; stuck in the middle of soap opera dramatics, and every twitch, facial tic, and wink are a delight to behold. Ryan Gosling is almost as good, and covers an impressive range of emotions, making them all believable.

The scenes in which the two of them are going head to head are doubtlessly the best parts of the film, and make for gripping viewing, and this is really what you are paying to see.

Sadly there is a lot of other things that drag Fracture down, like the boring side story of Willy’s relationship with Nikki Gardner, from his new job, which is useful as a plot device, but feels lightweight and tacked on. The same goes for the connection between Ted’s wife and the arresting officer, and Willy’s boss at the Public Prosecutor’s. All it takes is a lousy script and some crappy TV acting to bring you back to earth and remind you that you are watching a second rate film.

Fracture is something of a guilty pleasure, and is easy enough to enjoy with a box of popcorn on a Friday night if you are in the mood. Unfortunately the quality difference between the stars and the rest of cast draw attention to the flimsy plot, and the more you think about it, the less convincing it becomes. Even though it has good points, this is probably one to wait for the DVD release.

- Ivan Sadler
Some great performances save an otherwise humdrum legal drama from a painful death.

Helen 2007/05/22 4:15 PM
Frail fracture I saw Fracture, in great anticipation, but was sadly let down, yes maybe the performace was godd (not great) but the story just never got any real 'life' to it.
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