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In many ways, Fracture is a frustrating movie to watch because it comes so close to being a good movie. It’s not so much a smart thriller as it is a battle of wits and therein lies the problem. There’s a shortage of wits. The filmmakers have created a character that is smarter than they are and as a result you have a intelligent character, played to perfection by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who does some rather unintelligent things in order to make the plot resolve itself in a convenient fashion.
Is it a problem that my fiancée and I were able to guess how Sir Anthony Hopkins’s character commits the perfect murder? Not really, because this movie isn’t so much about how he commits the crime as it is about the interplay and battle of wits between Sir Anthony Hopkins’s homicidal engineer Crawford and Ryan Gosling’s arrogant District Attorney Beachum. When they are together, Fracture is a blast and that’s a problem because their scenes together are few and far between. Too much of the movie is spent on moving the plot forward or developing Gosling’s character.
A movie like Fracture lives and dies on the strength of its performances. Sir Anthony Hopkins excels at playing complex and intelligent men and this role is no exception. His performance is simple and relaxed, yet powerful and commanding and he brings out the best in everyone around him. This is most noticeable with Ryan Gosling who shines and holds his own in his scenes together with Sir Anthony Hopkins but is less compelling in his scenes without him. Not that Gosling isn’t a competent actor, he infuses his character, a lawyer, with integrity and a breezy Southern charm but his performance feels mannered and manufactured compared to the effortless and direct performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins.Buy the Moose a cup of coffee.