Fracture (2007) / Thriller-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for language and some violent content
Running time: 112 min.

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, Rosamund Pike, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, David Straithairn, Embeth Davidtz, Fiona Shaw, Bob Gunton
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Screenplay: Daniel Pyne, Glen Gers
Review published May 28, 2007

Implausible, but quite watchable nonetheless, Fracture is the kind of film that one enjoys more due to the subtle performances and character touches provided by the leads than for the flawed story at the heart of the film.  In fact, their presence alone gives the pedestrian script the edge it needs to be taken seriously, which helps deliver the dramatic tension and intrigue necessary to make the courtroom case fly when it should. 

Anthony Hopkins (Bobby, The World's Fastest Indian) stars as Ted Crawford, a top-notch structural engineer known for his meticulous and calculating performance, both on and off the job.  After finding out that his wife (Davidtz, The Emperor's Club) is cheating on him, he shoots her, cleans up the place, and waits for the police.  The cops arrive, and the lead detective is none other than the man who his wife was having an affair with (Burke, Ladder 49).  With no one else in the house, the murder weapon, and a signed confession, it looks like an open-and-shut case.

Enter hotshot district attorney Wily Beachum (Gosling, Half Nelson), just a couple of weeks away from leaving the small-time for a lucrative gig in one of the top law firms in the country.  He's assigned the case, thinking he can easily wrap it up before having to leave.  What was once a slam dunk turns out to be more complicated, as Crawford alleges his confession was coerced, the murder weapon turns out not to have been fired, and Crawford, who has decided to represent himself, seems to have ulterior motives in mind. Without clear-cut physical evidence against Crawford, Beachum's promising future now looks a little bleaker, and the case soon becomes make-or-break for his career.

Though in hindsight, it's quite a crock of baloney throughout, there were only a couple of brief moments when I began to question the validity of the story and the believability of the characters.  The first moment came when I realized that the wife's lover is a homicide detective.  He is shown to be frustrated by the fact that the woman will not reveal who she really is or where she lives, and yet, he is a detective, with enough resources to easily find out just who she is, where she lives, and why she is hiding these things from him.  The second moment comes when such a calculating mastermind like Crawford makes genius moves when it comes to planning the murder and court case, but he somehow doesn't anticipate larger things that even occurred to me as I watched the film.  Surely someone who does as much homework as he does would know the repercussions of his actions, even if he thinks he can get off scot free.

Though an injected romantic subplot is a bit of a needless distraction, I guess just one more thing Willy might potentially lose if the case goes down, Fracture is always interesting, even if it is illogical.  I suppose all of the missteps by the characters fits in to an overall theme about getting careless when one is too cocky, which does make some of the errors by the genius of the piece understandable, although his whole modus operandi operates on this theme.  Engaging, so long as you aren't looking for imperfections.

Qwipster's rating:

2007 Vince Leo