Film Reviews

FRACTURE

By • Apr 20th, 2007 •

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New Line Cinema / Castle Rock Entertainment
Running time — 112 minutes / MPAA rating: R

Clever and keeps you thinking – during and after.

Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) is an anal retentive millionaire with the kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder that would drive even me crazy (and I rearrange shelves at supermarkets and re-fold clothes in department stores. Why won’t my friends let me arrange their clothes closets? I do such a great job!)

Crawford finds out his trophy wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz) is having an affair. This is not her first time at the rodeo. She’s good at it – keeping all the details, even her name, a secret. But with Crawford as her husband, she should know better.

This is not a spoiler – Crawford waits for Jennifer to come home from one of her twice-weekly assignations and shoots her in the face. He then calmly cleans himself up and calls 911. He confesses. He doesn’t want a lawyer or bail. He wants to stay in jail for a while. His wife does not die. She’s in a coma.

Assistant D.A. Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) is a clever young man. He’s given his two weeks notice. He’s going off to a prestigious law firm. He’s going to be on a team headed by gorgeous partner, Nikki Gardner (Rosamund Pike). She lets him know she wants a winner. He is a winner and was good at positioning himself to win cases. He’s easy to admire. With Crawford’s confession in hand, Beachum accepts this last case. Appear in court, accept the guilty plea, and go pack up his D.A.’s office.

At Crawford’s arraignment, the pieces do not fall neatly into place. Crawford’s gun was never fired. He had no gun residue on him. There is no murder weapon. Then Crawford throws in a bombshell. The first cop at Crawford’s house, Detective Rob Nunally (Billy Burke), was his wife’s lover! Since Nunally did not acknowledge his involvement when taking Crawford’s confession at the police station, Crawford’s confession is thrown out.

Meanwhile, Crawford, who should have spent more time figuring out how to keep his wife from straying, delights in frustrating Beachum. He has him investigated. He likes taunting Beachum and flirting with him (in a manly, cat-and-mouse way).

Crawford is smart and crafty but so is Beachum and this is what makes FRACTURE so much fun. They could be equally matched; however, Beachum is on his way up and impatient about it. And being embarrassed by Crawford for failing to do a thorough investigation places not only the D.A.’s office in a lousy light, but his future lucrative career. Instead of having the case passed on to another D.A., Beachum wants to solve the mystery – egged on by Crawford’s arrogance. Crawford is keeping score and he’s winning at every turn.

Not only is the dialogue clever and the story of two very smart people up against each other interesting, but later, FRACTURE makes you think the story through again. Does it all fall into place? What about that tape of Crawford at his wife’s rendezvous? And the ending proves a truth – sometimes the need for revenge compromises even the best strategic planning.

I watch Courttv.com and people do plan things out carefully. Sometimes it works. People can be devious when they are seething with rage (though they still use their home computers to do internet searches for poison and ways to kill).

I like the way director Gregory Hoblit presented the characters. You feel sorry for Hopkins because he’s been cuckolded and he’s wealthy and smart – so he’s a fool that is rightfully angry. Hopkins has a good grip on this character. He also enjoys being clever. Gosling’s Beachum has charm and a hunger for success that informs us that his background demands he succeed. His character flaws are barely submerged and subtly visible – and that’s not an easy thing for an actor to pull off.


Credits:
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Screenwriters: Daniel Pyne, Glenn Gers
Story: Daniel Pyne
Producer: Charles Weinstock
Executive producers: Liz Glotzer, Hawk Koch, Toby Emmerich
Director of photography: Kramer Morgenthau
Production designer: Paul Eads
Music: Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna
Co-producer: Louise Rosner
Costume designer: Elisabetta Baraldo
Editor: David Rosenbloom

Cast:
Ted Crawford: Anthony Hopkins
Willy Beachum: Ryan Gosling
Joe Lobruto: David Straithairn
Nikki Gardner: Rosamund Pike
Jennifer: Embeth Davidtz
Rob Nunally: Billy Burke
Flores: Cliff Curtis

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