Movie Review – Fracture (2007)
by RISHI AGRAWAL
Sometimes I wish I could turn off that little part of my brain that is always analyzing a film, so I could just sit back and enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, there are certain kinds of films where I demand plausibility. Obviously, if I’m watching a surrealist romp or an epic fantasy film, reality is a fleeting concern. But, for a legal thriller like Fracture, I want the film to make sense.
Gregory Hoblit (Frequency) directs this film in which Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) attempts to kill his wife after learning that she has been having an affair. Ryan Gosling plays Willy Beachum, a state prosecutor who is eager to start his new job at a big firm. He takes this case because it seems open and shut. Crawford has given a signed confession and the murder weapon was recovered from the crime scene. However, unfortunately for Beachum, the murder weapon has never been fired and the confession was signed under duress. It seems that the detective who arrested Crawford was the one having the affair with Crawford’s wife.
Now, I know I am still a law student, but there are certain assumptions I will make about the behavior of attorneys. 1) Once you are offered a big, fancy job, you will not be fired for losing a case in the state prosecutor’s office. 2) It is nearly impossible to get a 97% conviction rate in the state prosecutor’s office, and only someone who is certifiably insane would care about such a thing. 3) Prosecuting attorneys do not go to the hospital to read books to the victim of the crime, who happens to be in a coma. 4) If an attorney is given a chance to drop off a case, and has no evidence to support his side, he probably will wisely take that opportunity.
Both Hopkins and Gosling are wonderful actors, and their interactions are easily the best parts of the film. Normally, performances like these, combined with the crisp visual style that only a big Hollywood budget can buy, would be enough to marginally recommend a film like this one. Unfortunately, their performances only highlight the poor acting of practically everyone else in the film. Also, questions about plot get raised during their conversations. Crawford constantly tries to goad Beachum and get under his skin. Other than the fact that Crawford is most likely crazy, no motivation is given for his mind games. Crawford is also prone to give melodramatic speeches, including a memorable one about finding flaws in chicken eggs. Hopkins almost pulls off the overwhelming weight of Crawford’s statements, but they still seem a bit pretentious.
However ridiculous the plot may be, it does occasionally keep the viewer engaged. There are plenty of plot twists and unexpected moments of the film. Most of them are utterly preposterous, but some of them are genuinely interesting. But, I would still say the only reason to see this film is if you are interested in the two main actors. Even then, you may be better served diving into Hopkins’ wonderful filmography and keeping tabs on Gosling’s bright future.