Director: Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear, Fallen, Frequency, Hart's War, )
Story: Daniel Pyne
Screenplay: Daniel Pyne, Glenn Gers
Producer: Charles Weinstock
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 112 min
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reviewed by Andrew James
     While watching Fracture, I couldn't help be reminded of a movie entitled, Primal Fear starring Edward Norton and Richard Gere. As I sit down to write this review, I now see why. Both films employ the same director. But more than that, both films are basically courtroom dramas about a young kid (and a young, but powerful actor) matching wits with an older, seasoned actor and character. Fracture doesn't quite measure up to the latters engagability, but it's fairly engrossing nonetheless

      Hot off his fantastic performance in Half Nelson (our review), Ryan Gosling plays Beachum; a young, hot-shot attorney with a 97% conviction rate and a bright new shiny job with the most prestigious law firm in L.A. But before he can take on the new job, he's got one last case to finish for the D.A.'s office. An older gentleman by the name of Crawford (Hopkins), has shot his wife in the face and Beachum is sent to close the book on this seemingly open and shut case. But Crawford has much more up his sleave than at first meets the eye and is soon giving Beachum a run for his money.

      Basically Fracture is just a battle of wits between these two characters. There is a needless love interest portion of the film that's there only to fill time and include an attractive female presence to the picture with Rosamund Pike (the best part of Pride & Prejudice). You'll find that about the only thing engaging about the movie as a whole, is the fact that you want to see what the next move is by the two players and who will come out victorious in each battle. Though you can see the ending coming a mile away, it's still a pretty big stretch and I left a little unsatisfied with the result.

      The movie is really plagued by its predictability and its many portions of needlessness. Hopkins seems to basically be playing a less psychotic version of Hannibal Lector while Gosling's performance, though well done, pales in comparison to his Oscar nominated performance from last year. Still, both actors play their role to the best of their ability and their abilities are obviously pretty high, so we get decent, engaging performances that beg the audience to stay to see who comes out on top. The only thing that threw for a loop was a peculiar accent by Hopkins. He starts the film with a slight English accent, but as the film progresses, specifically when he's speaking on the phone, his accent turns to Scottish, Welsh and even at times a southern drawl. It was very distracting; not to mention weird.

      There's nothing terribly interesting or special about Hoblit's directing style. He's simply there with a camera to show us what is going on. Maybe it's the movie snob in me that asks for just a little bit more from my films, but it felt that I was just screaming for something new and interesting. Granted this is more or less a courtroom drama and something new, flashy or arty might be distracting from the picture, but I still like to see something new and impressive; and though Hoblit might be trying in a "Hitchcock-ian" sort of way, it never really materializes.

      What you've got here is basically a nice idea of a movie with a wonderful cast (rounded out by David Strathairn and Cliff Curtis) that moves at a slug's pace at times while somehow keeping our interest with the knowledge that something shocking or engaging is lying to be sprung upon us at any moment. Even with the predictability, Gosling and Hopkins manage to keep our interest and keep us on our toes. This is not a bad movie by any stretch, in fact, it's like I said, fairly engrossing. But ultimately it's nothing overly special that warrants a $10 trip to the theater. A nice Tuesday evening DVD rental would be well worth the effort though. Why Tuesday? Why not?

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IMDb profile - full cast and crew
Official Site