Fracture


Directed by: Gregory Hoblit
Written by:Daniel Pyne, Glenn Gers
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw, Bob Gunton
Released: August 2, 2007
Grade: B+

Willy Beachum (Gosling) is one of the best prosecutors in the legal profession.  He’s young, popular and successful.  His 97% conviction rate speaks for itself.  Willy has decided that it’s time to take his career a step further.  He’s landed a highly paid job at a very lucrative criminal law firm.  Instead of putting criminals behind bars, he’ll now be keeping trying to keep them on the streets.

With just weeks left at his old job, a case lands on his desk.  Willy is reluctant to take on any new work but this looks too easy to pass up.  The accused has confessed to the crime and there’s both motive and a murder weapon.  It’ll be one more conviction to notch up on his belt.

The man on trial is Ted Crawford (Hopkins).  Ted shot his wife (Davidtz) on discovering that she was having an affair.  We know he is guilty because we see the crime take place in the opening scenes of the film.  Everyone involved in the case knows that he’s guilty, but Ted has a few cards up his sleeve to convince the jury otherwise.

In turns out that the officer who arrested Ted was the one having an affair with his wife.  This makes the confession gained from that office inadmissible.  Further, forensics show that the gun found at the scene had never been fired.  With details of the trial being broadcast in the media, it’s turned into a nightmare for Willy Beachum.  He’s losing an unloseable case.  With his reputation in tatters and his new job prospects in jeopardy, Willy must figure this out…

I love a good who-done-it thriller.  You watch intently for clues and you try to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  I’m happy to report that the ending does make sense (for the most part) and that I did pick it with about half-an-hour to go.  You may not care but I walked out with a proud look on my face.

The performance of Ryan Gosling is impressive.  After earning his first Academy Award nomination earlier this year for Half Nelson, Gosling again shows that he breath life into his characters.  I loved his arrogance early in the film and the way he speaks in a cool, nonchalant tone.  You’ll see his personality change as his life begins to unravel.

The film suffers with the inclusion of some unnecessary sub-plots.  Willy has a girlfriend named Nikki (Pike) who works at the new firm he is going to.  There’s a strange scene where they first meet (although I assume this isn’t a first meeting from what happens after) and she continues to pop in and out of the story with no real purpose.  A lengthy scene where they share Thanksgiving dinner with her family is a good example.  Perhaps the plot isn’t deep enough to drag it out to the full two hours.

My first reaction on walking out of the cinema was that that Fracture was an enjoyable movie going experience.  The more I thought about it afterwards though, the more possible flaws I saw in the story.  Perhaps it’s best not to keep thinking about.  It held my attention for the most part and that’s better than a lot of other films screening at the moment.