AT THE MOVIES WITH DILLON KIMMEL

Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) is a remarkably successful airline entrepreneur with an enormous residence (to call it a house would be insulting), a crew of landscapers, and a beautiful wife Jennifer (Embeth Davitz) who happens to be cheating on him with a man half Crawford’s age. But instead of consulting his wife about the fling, Crawford stalks his wife and her lover, eventually shooting his dearly beloved in cold blood. And as her life slips away before his eyes, Crawford calmly burns his clothing, wipes clean the gun and bullets, and cleans his bloody face and hands. Then he waits for the cops to arrive at his doorstep.

And as hostage investigator Rob Nunally (Billy Burke) quietly sleeks up to the door (the police still believe Crawford’s wife is unharmed at this point), it comes as a quick shock to the audience that he is the lover of the victim. Crawford promptly confesses to the crime and apparently hands over the murder weapon. And upon seeing his dearly beloved lying in a pool of blood (she has suffered permanent brain damage), Nunally attacks and beats the murderous husband.

Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) is a rising star in Los Angeles’ exclusive legal circle. Boasting a 97% conviction rate, Beachum is offered a position at the huge firm Wooten Sims pending he closes the deal on his remaining cases, one of which happens to be a seemingly textbook attempted murder case involving a troubled old man who shot his wife after learning of her scandalous affair. But Beachum is about to learn there is more to Ted Crawford than meets the eye.

Strong chemistry between Hopkins and Gosling drives Fracture, a courtroom thriller about a cut-and-dry case that goes terribly wrong because one lawyer looks to the future instead of paying attention to the present. Hopkins is as enchanting as ever as a deceitful, twisted husband hell-bent on revenge. Crawford proves to be a student of Beachum’s every move, and his clever assessment of Beachum as “a winner” proves to be the catalyst for Crawford’s eventual acquittal.

What follows is the greatest struggle of the entire movie: Will Beachum risk his budding career on one case, or will he cheat, ensuring his cushy job is waiting for him when the smoke clears?

Willy’s reckless and selfish ways at first make him an impossible protagonist to like. He throws his boss and colleagues under the bus when the offer from Wooten Sims. To even get an interview with the firm he first had to deceive a good friend in court. Not to mention the arrogance with which he carries himself in the first days of the trial. But as his case falls apart, the old Willy, the good ol’ boy raised around Southern hospitality, reemerges.

Fracture’s script sways and buckles in spots but never breaks (or fractures in this case). There are parts that are confusing and difficult to follow, and some plot points are never really solved, but overall, the plot is teeming with twists and turns that prove to keep viewers interested until its climactic ending.

Its deliberate pace may bore some viewers, but its subtle idiosyncrasies should keep the attention of most interested viewers. But if you are looking for action, don’t bother. Fracture may seem like a kick ’em ’til they’re blue story, but it’s not at all.

This is a highly elegant thriller that doesn’t make cinematic history by any means but still provides an enjoyable experience. The veteran Hopkins and upstart Gosling shine opposite one another in an epic battle of wits, and a pair of surprising, plausible twists add to the intrigue, without which Fracture would just be another Law & Order rerun.

 

3 stars.

The Waynedale News Staff

Dillon Kimmel

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