At the dawn of the summer movie season, Fracture is the welcome lull before the storm of ostentatious blockbusters hit the screen. Director Gregory Hoblit presents a subdued psychological thriller for the semi-cerebral that intrigues more than it titillates. The mystery is not in who did it, but in how the self-admitted culprit plans to get away with it. The languid pace in Fracture allows the viewer to savor every scene of polite hostility between Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling as they mentally duke it out. What Fracture lacks in the usual sensational courtroom antics and gimmicks it more than makes up for in a thought-provoking screenplay written by Daniel Pyne and Glen Gers.
Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a scorned millionaire who shoots his adulterous wife Jennifer, played by Embeth Davidtz. When the police and hostage negotiator Rob Nunally (who just happens to be Jenniferâ€™s lover), played by Billy Burke, arrive at the scene he sees her body on the floor and consequently her portrait on the wallâ€”he makes the connection, goes ballistic, and begins to beat Crawford. Coincidence? I think notâ€”Crawford designed the whole event with the precision of an intrically built rolling ball apparatus (featured in the opening sequence of the film). With his scheme in place, Crawford confesses to Nunally and assistant district attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) takes the ostensible open and shut case two weeks before he embarks on a lucrative job at a corporate law firm. Ambitious, arrogant, and cocky, Beachum is in for a surprise when Crawford gets off due to a legal technicality. In pursuit of justice and to heal his wounded ego (he has a 97% conviction rate), Beachum further investigates the case only to get continuously stumped by Crawford. The one â€œflawâ€ in an otherwise almost perfect screenplay is Nunally. His stupidity somewhat diminishes the grandeur of Crawfordâ€™s ingenuous scheme. With Nunally as the dupe Crawford just canâ€™t seem to be all that smart.
Hopkins glides through a cunning performance without repeating his â€œHannibal Lecterishâ€ persona, and Gosling gives it his all as the frustrated prosecutor. While Beachumâ€™s investigation tests his moral fortitude at the expense of his career, Crawford is busy tying up the loose ends to his perfect crime (mainly by pulling the plug on his comatose wife). Ironically, this also becomes Crawfordâ€™s downfall. Fracture becomes a moral lesson on the consequences of arrogance and the fallacy of perfection.
In the end, Fracture comes full circle when Beachum finally figures it out through a series of coincidences. I wonâ€™t give you the details, but discovery occurs at Beachumâ€™s lowest point (we feel sorry for him because his career is at the toilet) and at the pinnacle of Crawfordâ€™s self-assuredness (heâ€™s become too cocky and we really want him to get it at this point). Fracture, at times is like a frustrating game of chess, but in the end thereâ€™s just no way out when youâ€™ve been â€œmatedâ€ by the opponentâ€”even if itâ€™s by default.
WORLD - CULTURE
Copyright © 2010 C. Amoroso
Fracture: Lull Before the Storm
Copyright © 2010 C. Amoroso
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