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Fracture
cast: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, and Embeth Davidtz

director: Gregory Hoblit

112 minutes (15) 2007
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
EIV DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Let's just imagine that John Grisham and Alfred Hitchcock could procreate together, and let's just imagine that they had a child. Now, if that child were to write screenplays, then she or she would write Fracture. Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) shoots his adulterous wife in a cold and calculated act of revenge. Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) is a cocky young assistant D.A. on the way up and out of the public office. Hotshot lawyer Beachum has a nigh-on perfect prosecution record, and the resulting arrogance that accompanies such a strike-rate. He agrees to take one last case. It is open and shut. Man shoots his wife, man calls police; man looks guilty as sin and confesses. Twice. However, Crawford decides to defend himself against the charges. Yes, Ted Crawford had a plan, and a belief that "if you look close enough, you'll find that everyone has a weak spot."

This is not a whodunit, far from it. Who did the shooting is clear from the outset. Fracture is a cleverly scripted legal thriller that has Crawford up against Beachum in a courtroom battle of wits. All throughout, Hopkins holds the upper hand, and dominates the film with a typically solid performance, despite the questionable accent. He pushes young Gosling into the shade with witty quips and an acting performance during which he flips between psychotic and charismatic seamlessly, though he is never likeable. The undercurrent of a malicious personality is with him throughout.

Beachum himself fights an inner battle between selling out to the corporate machine and the desire to "stick one in the heart of the bad guys." His obsession with seeing justice done to Crawford eventually leaves his hard-fought position at a large downtown law-firm at risk. Xander Berkeley, Rosamund Pike and David Strathairn all play their parts well, but as with Gosling, they play on the under-card that Hopkins headlines. Indeed, the viewer is left wanting to see more of The Silence Of The Lambs star, though it is the very scant use of Hopkins at just the right times that makes his character so compelling.

Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear, Fallen) pulls together a powerful cast to give us an enjoyable film, and it is a testament to his directorship that he can turn what is an average story into a gripping picture. Whilst there are some elements of the film that are entirely the predictable, there is certain joy in wanting to see Crawford get his comeuppance. But the question is, does Beachum have the wherewithal to put Crawford down?
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