Finding the weak spot
Fracture‘s lead actors play off each other well despite a plot with a few holes
Anthony Hopkins plays the perfect creep. And he does so with unfaltering style and grace. He holds the bar high, then, for his Fracture co-star, the much younger Ryan Gosling, who I dare say damn near reaches it.
Fracture is one of those suspenseful legal dramas that make the audience want to scream out where the gun is, direct the lawyer to the right witnesses and smack the bad guy in the face when he gets away with it. And Hopkins is so smug maybe that smack should be more of a sock to the nose. The good news, however, is that this legal drama packs a few punches of its own, even if they’re not altogether original.
Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a meticulous engineer who drives sports cars, lives in a mansion and has a beautiful young wife (Embeth Davitz). Unfortunately for her, Crawford is no dum-dum and her affair with a hot detective is no secret. Before long she’s lying in a pool of her own blood, with her husband standing over her with a smoking gun and ready confession.
What follow are a well-thought-out series of events that challenge the reputation—and mind—of hotshot assistant district attorney Willy Beachum (Gosling). Perhaps you’re not such a hotshot after all, Crawford seems to whisper from across the courtroom. In his meticulous way, Crawford appears to have taken care of all the details, and evidence loses validity faster than Beachum can get dressed for court. But, as the title implies, there must be a weak spot, a fracture. He just has to find it.
The back-and-forth between Crawford and Beachum is peppered with humor and, for the most part, it keeps us guessing what’s going to come next. Ethical issues are also introduced, adding a different dimension to the courtroom drama. David Strathairn offers a strong performance as the DA who struggles with whether or not to keep Beachum on the case.
Sadly, with a decently suspenseful story and stylish, mood-setting directing—with some awesome, if not disorienting shots—there are holes in the plot that just seem to get bigger toward the end. But in that special way only great actors can, Hopkins and Gosling fill in the cracks and keep the film from falling apart.