Up and coming actor Ryan Gosling locks horns with acclaimed veteran thespian Anthony Hopkins in Fracture, a legal thriller directed by Gregory Hoblit who has a deft hand with this particular genre with Primal Fear and Frequency under his belt.
The story begins with structural engineer Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) shooting his unfaithful wife (Embeth Davidtz). Tried for attempted murder, District Attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), a hotshot prosecutor on his way to a high paying job in the private sector, is assigned to the case.
The majority of the film focuses on Beachum preparing his case against Crawford – who has chosen to represent himself - as he manoeuvres through the murky waters of the legal profession, facing a number of moral dilemmas along the way whilst trying to win an impossible case against a conniving and intelligent adversary.
Casting Gosling in the lead role works very well, due to the fact that he is a charismatic and charming actor who knows how to hold a film on his own. Yet only when Hopkins comes on the scene does the film start to brim with energy.
Now, due to the combination of the films genre, its marquee actor (Hopkins), and his characters tendencies to play mind games, shades of Hannibal Lector inadvertently comes through and this not a bad thing.
Predictable, yes, but it isn’t a hindrance on the film. Hopkins is such a good actor who handles the films somewhat shaky material very well, that his blatant rip off of his definitive character can be forgiven and enjoyed. Also of mention is the electric chemistry between Hopkins and Gosling.
Surprisingly, Fracture does not go for the usual court room theatrics, with many of the films more dramatic scenes outside of the courtroom. Regardless, this is a solid crime mystery which does not break any new ground, but will ensure an enjoyable night in thanks to its lead actors.