Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Billy Burke, Rosamund
Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Valerie Dillman
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Director Gregory Hoblit has never made a great film, but he’s made several good ones over the past decade, and the trend continues with the color-by-numbers thriller “Fracture.” Based on my theory that most moviegoers don’t actually pay attention to the little details sprinkled throughout a given story, “Fracture” takes a relatively simple set-up and creates an enjoyable game of cat-and-mouse that, while frequently unimpressive, will no doubt entertain the average moviegoer.
Anthony Hopkins stars as Ted Crawford, a successful aerospace engineer who, upon discovering that his beautiful wife (Embeth Davidtz) is having an affair, shoots her in the head and confesses to the crime. Enter Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), a hotshot assistant D.A. who’s already got one foot out the door towards a more lucrative position at a firm where everyone “plays squash and has a middle initial.” Before he leaves, however, Willy must close one final case. It seems easy enough: the cops have secured both a verbal and written confession, and they even have the murder weapon. Or do they? What begins as a simple open-and-shut case quickly spirals into a clusterfuck of O.J. Simpson proportions, leaving Willy to pick up the pieces.
Channeling the diabolical intellect of Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins returns to form at what he does best: intimidation. His character has the uncanny ability to uncover a weak spot in everything and everyone (hence the name of the film), and as a result, he’s able to design the perfect murder. That is, until he meets his match; both on and off the screen. Ryan Gosling has proven time and again that he’s the best thing about Young Hollywood, and he only furthers the argument in his latest performance. The fact that he outshines his veteran co-star in every scene they share should be evidence enough, but he also makes the rest of the cast look like a bunch of amateurs. Even David Strathairn (who plays Willy’s boss, D.A. Joe Lobruto) buckles under Gosling’s presence, and it seems only a matter of time before the young actor finally walks away with a golden statue.Still, it’d be difficult to give Gosling all the credit. The script by Daniel Pyne and Glen Gers may not be legally accurate, but it does offer some of sharpest dialogue of the year, creating a sort of intellectual dance between the two actors as each attempts to outwit the other. Watching the battle of wits (and words) between the ever-so-charming Hopkins and Gosling is just plain fun, and though the film begins to stumble during a weak third act, it never quite flatlines thanks to the talents of both men. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that “Fracture” has its share of imperfections, but the same goes for its strengths. This is acting at its absolute best. Just feel free to leave your brains at home.