Fracture (2007)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
Genres: Courtroom Drama, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
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Gregory Hoblit Gregory Hoblit
Anthony Hopkins Anthony Hopkins
Ryan Gosling Ryan Gosling
David Strathairn David Strathairn
Rosamund Pike Rosamund Pike
Embeth Davidtz Embeth Davidtz

6.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 23, 2007
For a thriller, "Fracture" has been garnering some pretty favorable reviews. I have been hearing everything from "Anthony Hopkins is back!" to "Hopkins and Gosling serve up a delicious cat and mouse game similar to "The Fugitive" with Ford and Jones". First off, when did Anthony Hopkins ever leave? Secondly, are we really comparing this film with "The Fugitive"? I hope not. Because, at the end of the day, "Fracture" is just another run-of-the-mill thriller that tries to trick the audience into thinking it's something more, simply by casting an Oscar winner and a recent Oscar nominee in the leading roles. "Fracture" is one of those films, like "Switchback" and "Instinct"; despite the good intentions, it will be forgotten by the middle of next year, completely. This is a shame, because there was so much that could have been done with this film. There were so many scenes that were not shot that could have turned "Fracture" into a Hitchcockian masterpiece. However, the film comes to us from Gregory Hoblit, who brought us the amazing "Primal Fear" and the bizarre, yet wholly engrossing "Fallen". Other than those two films, he has not shown a lasting ability to create quality cinema for audience. "Fracture" is all outside gloss, and very little inside.

The film opens with Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) playing detective on his wife (Embeth Davidtz) as she trots around a hotel room with her lover, Rob (Billy Burke). He finally has visual proof that they have been having an affair. Later that night, Crawford takes his pistol and shoots her in the head. When the police arrive, we learn a startling secret - the man with whom she has been having an affair is actually a hostage negotiator and is sent to the crime scene first. Crawford is arrested. We then meet Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), who works for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, but is about to 'move on up' to corporate law at the prestigious Wooten/Sims. He is given Crawford's case on the spur of the moment and doesn't really want it, but then he gets sucked it when he realizes that Crawford is really just playing games with everyone. David Strathairn stars as Joe Lobruto, Beachum's boss at the D.A.'s office, who is far more understanding that someone in his position typically would be; Rosamund Pike stars as Nikki, Beachum's love interested and new boss; and Bob Gunton stars as Nikki's father, a judge. The film is, essentially, a cat and mouse game as Hopkins and Gosling continually one-up each other. The film's ending does not come as a surprise. I knew what was going to happen ten minutes into the film.

During the halfway point of the film, someone sitting behind me in the theatre said, "This feels just like a television show." I couldn't have agreed more. "Fracture" felt just like I was watching an episode of "Law & Order" or "Criminal Minds", only an extended version. The music, the pacing, the cinematography - everything was run-of-the-mill, and nothing special. From the generally positive reviews the film has garnered, I expected more than that. I turns out that the filmmakers had a genuinely weak script - some of the legal terminology used is questionable; the whole ordeal with Beachum thinking about using the planted gun was ridiculous and wouldn't have worked on a multitude of levels. The weak script lead to the need for strong performers who might be able to make the weak material look good. Hopkins is one of the best at this. Gosling is just catching on but might start being the go-to guy. The first forty-five minutes creep along at a snail's pace, and we really don't see very much of Anthony Hopkins after the opening sequences. He kind of disappears into the background and this becomes a vehicle for Ryan Gosling. If you promise an audience a lot of Hopkins, you had better deliver a lot of Hopkins. It's rude to do otherwise.

All of that said, the performances were a mixed bag. Most reviews for the film have pointed out how 'amazing' Anthony Hopkins is - how much fun he is having playing such a sinister role. For me, this was absolutely nothing special. Hopkins can play a role like this in his sleep. It looked to me like he was sleepwalking through most of it. The filmmakers, of course, give Hopkins about three monologues, that he turns into something better than they appeared on print; they also give him plenty of chances to give sinister smiles and wink at the protagonists; but what else? Ryan Gosling seems like the little kid playing in the big kid's sandbox - much the same feeling I had with Ryan Phillippe batting against Chris Cooper in "Breach". Gosling is more successful at it. He is one of the best young actors working today and he really does pose a considerable on screen threat to Hopkins. As for David Strathairn, who knows what in the hell he's in this film. He goes from an Oscar nomination - finally rewarded for his years of underrated excellence - and he follows it up with a thriller from Gregory Hoblit? I don't get it. Must be over my head.

So maybe "Fracture" is better than a lot of thrillers that come out? Maybe. I don't think so, but maybe. To me, "Fracture" was the definition of mediocre. There was nothing I haven't seen on hundred times before in one thousand other films. There was nothing that will make me remember this film in five years - hell, five months. Some quality actors do serviceable work with poorly written roles, but not even they can save the film from itself. If you want to see "Fracture" for free, just watch an episode of "Law & Order". Otherwise, there really isn't a reason for you to spend eight dollars to see recycled legal jargon. The best scene in the film comes when Gosling is at the prison with Hopkins, and Hopkins busts into his speech about 'checking for cracks in eggs'. That is vintage Hopkins. That one scene is better than the rest of the film. The rest of the time, Hopkins just phones it in, as he is permitted to do in most of his films, it would seem. This is not Hannibal Lecter. This is Hannibal Lecter if Hannibal Lecter was a television character. "Fracture" breaks well before the opening credits have finished. By the end, it is completely shattered.

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