Guest Review of Fracture: A Legal Thriller / Comedy?
by Ken Evans
April 19, 2007
Director Gregory Hoblit has brought us some good movies over the years. What we have come to expect and love from his movies is that he takes a normal concept and puts an unexpected twist on it. In Primal Fear he gives us a courtroom drama with a fake split personality twist. In Fallen we see a cop hunting down a serial killer who turns out to be a demon. Frequency gives us a heartwarming relationship between a father, in the past, communicating with his son, in the future. Then in Hart's War, we have another courtroom drama held in a concentration camp during WWII. Which brings us to Hoblit's most recent film, Fracture.
In Fracture we are introduced to Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) who is a brilliant structural engineer with a knack for finding weak spots that no one else can see. Ted discovers that his wife is cheating on him and decides to kill her. So he waits for her to come home and shoots her in the head. Obviously being the genius that he is, he has an intricate plan to get away with the crime. Now enters Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) the cocky and brilliant district attorney who just took on a job to work for a high paying, well-known law firm instead. As you can probably guess, Gosling ends up trying to prove Hopkins guilty of the crime, and spends his time in the movie looking for the key piece of evidence that would put Hopkins away.
So my question is, "Where is the twist that we see in all of Hoblit's past films"? The only thing different from every other legal thriller is that this one seemed to provide quite a few laughs. If you have seen the trailer for Fracture, it comes across as an intense semi-dark movie where the killer psychologically tortures the prosecutor. If that is the movie you want to see, then you should skip going to see this film. Fracture is a light-hearted legal thriller which is much more about Gosling struggling with his desire to win and making the right choices while in the middle of a case. There is a romance between Gosling and Rosamund Pike (playing Nikki Gardner) that I just didn't buy as realistic. Hopkins' ability to find the week spot in everything, including people, didn't seem to play much of a role in anything that happened (which is unfortunate because it was really cool). And the way Hopkins kept the missing piece of evidence missing, didn't really take a genius to plan.
So my final verdict after watching Fracture is - I liked it. I can't believe it either. Despite it not living up to Hoblit's other films, I still like it. Sir Anthony Hopkins (that's right he is a knight) oozes cool and plays the part perfectly. Gosling is growing as an actor, and while this is no Half Nelson, he reminds us of Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men. There are many times in the film where the prosecutor goes to see the police detective to collaborate on the case. It's like they took scenes right out of Law and Order, which I'm a big fan of. And it's funny, really funny. Between the one-liners and the quirkiness of the characters you will find yourself laughing or smiling many times throughout the film. So if you're looking for a semi-funny, semi-intense legal thriller with a character struggling to find out who he is and what he wants out of life, you should see Fracture. Just don't expect it to be what the marketing team has made it out to be.