“Hello, Willie.”

I can’t gauge whether Fracture is supposed to be big time or a backburner movie. The last backburner I saw, Breach, turned out very well. Fracture is less successful, if only for the fact that I spent a lot of my time watching it thinking about technique. This is a sign that you have rather too many aerial shots in your movie.

Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) shoots his wife, and Willie Beachum (Ryan Gosling) has to prosecute him. The problem is that Crawford somehow left no conclusive evidence that he did anything, and Willie is arrogant, leaving for corporate law and generally underpreparing himself.

The conceit of Fracture is that Anthony Hopkins plays a criminal mastermind who has committed only one crime. The biggest frustration of the film is not only that its solution is one of the most standard clichés in story telling … but that I didn’t solve it myself well ahead of time.

Hopkins puts in his traditional good performance, obviously inspired by the sort of repartée he enjoyed as Hannibal Lecter. Gosling is less successful here than he was in Half Nelson, but that is largely attributable to his hair. Other than the fact that being blonde detracts from his definition, he is personable.
The remainder of the cast is functional, although Rosamund Pike’s standard issue superfluous love interest is rather too “exotic” for someone who is supposed to be “All American”. Fiona Shaw, whom you may recall as Harry Potter’s Aunt Petunia (I recall her as Super Mario Bros‘ Lena), sparkles briefly as the judge in Crawford’s case.

Fracture is a strange little movie to be sure, and on many levels it’s standard issue, but it’s the paradoxical brand of standard issue that isn’t frequently issued any more.

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