Back before Ryan Gosling was a household name. Before Anthony Hopkins disappointed us all and made a Transformers movie. Before Rosamund Pike tricked people into thinking Gone Girl was anything but an obliterated opportunity. Before all that, there was a cleverly written lawyer drama called Fracture.
Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) is a successful engineer. The quiet and well mannered man goes home from work early and shoots his wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz) in the head. Lieutenant Rob Nunally (Billy Burke) is the officer on the scene, he also happens to be the man who was sleeping with Jennifer. Crawford confesses his crime. Goes to the police station, and even signs a confession. Taking it a step further he decides to represent himself in court when going up against ace lawyer Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling).
Fracture really is a treat if you’re into performances. An actor’s movie from beginning to end. Anthony Hopkins’s well controlled and calculating Crawford is every bit the movie super villain but the realistic setting make him the villain and the hero of the same story.
Ryan Gosling also plays his role to the T. The young actor shows all the promise his career would put aside for years until he started to show these skills again. Instead of whispering a handful of lines mistaken as actual dialogue writers Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers give Gosling a lot of really good dialogue. Along with the dialogue Gosling doesn’t have to sit and brood. His character is embodied with confidence. He treats law like a boxing match. Picking his opponents and knowing how to get his record strong.
While the majority of the movie is a bout between Gosling and Hopkins the supporting cast is equally as strong. David Stathairn is a great talent that hasn’t been around as much recently. He plays Beachum’s first boss. Contrary to Stathairn who seems to only want what’s best for Beachum is Nikki Gardner. A flashly lawyer trying to lure Beachum’s presitge record into her firm. Played by the very talented Rosamund Pike (who hasn’t aged since this movie was made).
Great actors can save a mediocre script and a great script can save mediocre performances. Lucky for audiences, Fracture gives quality all throughout. The script is tight. All the pieces are in play, as they should be, and the audience still gets plenty of ‘a-ha’ moments as the story unravels its twists and turns.
What’s even more fun about Fracture, is there isn’t a clean line between who is ‘good’ and who is ‘bad.’ There’s also something fun about a court case with no mystery behind it at all Crawford did it. Crawford pulled the trigger. This isn’t even close to a spoiler. It’s the journey that leads to the outcome that is enthralling.
Fracture is a gem that would get a lot more attention if released now, with Gosling sitting near the top of Hollywood’s list of male actors.