** (out of 5)
April 20, 2007
Anthony Hopkins as TED CRAWFORD
Ryan Gosling as WILLY BEACHUM
David Strathairn as JOE LOBRUTO
Rosamund Pike as NIKKI GARDNER
Embeth Davidtz as JENNIFER CRAWFORD
Billy Burke as ROB NUNALLY
Studio: New Line Cinema
Directed by: Gregory Hoblit
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
One reason I was looking forward to seeing “Fracture” was to see Anthony Hopkins take on the role of the bad guy. After all, behind Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter is one of the best movie villains of all time. And for the most part, I enjoyed Hopkins as the would-be killer in “Fracture.”
The problem with this film was that everything else about the movie just didn’t live up to Hopkins’ performance.
The movie tells the story of a wealthy executive named Ted Crawford (Hopkins), who discovers his wife (Embeth Davidtz) is having an affair. Instead of going the normal thing like divorcing her, he decides to shoot her in the back of the head. When the police come to his house, it turns out the lead detective is the man she was having an affair with. After Crawford confronts the cop, and is subsequently assaulted by him, he signs a full confession.
The young, cocky prosecutor Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) takes on the case at the courthouse. Figuring that the signed confession would make the ruling simple, Beachum thinks he has plenty of time to wrap the case up before moving on to his high-powered corporate lawyer gig awaiting him in the private sector. However, he doesn’t figure that Crawford plans on manipulating the system to get an acquittal and make the state look like fools.
The strong point in this film is clearly Hopkins. He chews on his Hannibal Lecter character a bit through the film, but he still offers us something different. Instead of presenting us with a psychopath, we get a shrewd and brilliant character that has thought almost everything through. He’s not insane, and Hopkins doesn’t play him that way either.
The weak links in the film can be found virtually everywhere else. Ryan Gosling, who captured the critics’ attention and praise this year with his performance in “Half Nelson,” a film that I found ridiculously overrated. Gosling overacts his way throughout the film, channeling the lesser performances of Matthew McConaughey. He comes off so much like the cocky jerk that I was left with no sympathy for the character.
Likewise, there’s a distracting and preposterous love story between Beachum and his soon-to-be corporate boss, played by Rosamund Pike. While most of their scenes are forgettable and not pertinent to the plot itself, it comes off more as the writer’s fantasy than an actually scenario at a corporate law firm.
Like so many spring thrillers of late, “Fracture” comes with its fair share of twists and turns. Any filmgoer who has a good sense of the genre should be able to predict most, if not all, of them. For the “oh crap” crowd, this movie will please, but it’s by no means a masterpiece.
In the end, I found myself liking Hopkins too much and Gosling too little to fall in line with the intentions of the film. Ultimately, I was rooting for the killer, hoping he’d get the good ol’ O.J. treatment in the courtroom.