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Movie Review: Fracture

Directed by Gregory Hoblit
Written by Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers
New Line Cinema

Yeah, actors Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins are those kinds of guys you’d watch read the phone book to each other.  In a movie promising Hannibal-esque Hopkins going up against Gosling in a role that seemingly every rising star takes, the Ambitious Lawyer in the Case of His Life, getting directed by twisty thriller specialist Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear, Fallen, and Frequency), you have to be a little curious.

I admit, this movie has flaws galore but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t interested the whole way.  Lawyer Willy Beachum (Gosling) is about to jump ship at the D.A.’s office for a perk-laden job with a heavy-hitting firm, but he has one more case thrust upon him before he leaves.  It seems pretty open-and-shut: Airline engineer Ted Crawford (Hopkins) blows away his cheating wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz), putting her in a coma, and admits to the crime.  But he is arrested by the man who was his wife’s lover, Rob Nunnaly (Billy Burke), and the confession becomes null and void in the court.  Ted’s gun has been tested, and it hasn’t fired a shot.  Ted, acting as his own lawyer at trial, is clearly enjoying this.

The fumbling of the case by Beachum puts his potential cushy job in jeopardy, even as his would-be boss and new girlfriend Nikki Gardner (Rosamund Pike, as beautiful as anyone gets).  But he decides to risk it, knowing there’s more evidence out there, even though by the end of it he might be out of a job completely.  The D.A. (David Strathairn) is saying heads are going to have to roll for this.  Beachum’s purpose is to either find the missing gun, the one that was actually fired, or hope that Jennifer awakes from her coma.

It’s your classic baloney setup: so many things would have to go perfect for Ted’s plan to work that it’s a major collision with your suspension of disbelief.  That said, once you get past that, trying to figure out how Ted pulled it off becomes pretty fun.  The movie does well not to tip its hand.

Hopkins is great to watch; for a great deal of the film, he could be considered the hero, or at the very least, the one guy in the movie you root for.  It took awhile, but Gosling’s character finally won me over after being rather unlikable at the start.  He once again shows that’s he a great actor by being willing to play someone you might initially not like, but you get rewarded with patience.

I really liked this flick, despite its imperfections, which were quite easy to ignore.


Comment from Jonathan Watkins
Time: April 20, 2007, 1:45 pm

I was checking out the writing stats on Daniel Pyne, who I had never paid attention to before, but he has a couple of pretty nifty thrillers under his belt already (White Sands and the remake of The Manchurian Candidate), so I’m sure this is a bit better than I expected it to be. Glad to hear it’s this much fun; I’ll have to check it out. Great review.

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