2007, R, 112 min. Directed by Gregory Hoblit. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., April 20, 2007
Anthony Hopkins can convey more with one flared nostril than most actors can express with their entire bodies working in overdrive. To remark that he is one of the best in the business is to state the obvious. As Fracture’s wife-murdering protagonist, Ted Crawford, Hopkins is a delight to watch as he uses his actorly guiles to successfully agitate, torment, and belittle his accusers, who are unable to find the evidence to prove his guilt despite full certainty that he committed the act. Gosling is also one of the best young actors of his generation, having parlayed his entry into the business as a Mickey Mouse Club member into award-winning roles in The Believer and The Notebook and an Academy Award nomination for his turn last year in Half Nelson. Cast in Fracture as the hotshot assistant DA (with a 97% conviction record) whose task it is to convict Crawford, Gosling, too, is a pleasure to watch. This legal thriller pits these two brilliant actors against each other in a sustained battle of wills that has enough sizzle to keep us rapt even when the storyline sags and zags. Veteran courtroom dramatist Hoblit (who made his bones with the TV series Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and NYPD Blue before making his film directing debut 10 years ago with the legal thriller Primal Fear) directs with seamless style despite the movie’s overstuffed narrative midsection and warrantless romantic subplot. The script by Daniel Pyne (a Miami Vice TV vet before penning Any Given Sunday and The Manchurian Candidate) and Glenn Gers would probably have benefited from the excision of some of the film’s unnecessary bits of business. More important is that Crawford’s machinations don’t hold up under close scrutiny, dependent as they are on advance calculations based on the presumed future reactions of various characters. However, even though essential ingredients of the movie don’t hold up in the light of day, in the dark of the theatre Fracture keeps it together – mainly through the sheer will of Hopkins and Gosling.