Courtroom drama starring Anthony Hopkins. Engineering tycoon Ted Crawford (Hopkins) is a meticulous man in all things but, when he shoots his wife for stepping out on him, he may have taken on more than he can control. He confesses to the crime, gains the right to represent himself in court and moves to trial as soon as possible. The prosecutor is Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) - a young, upwardly mobile lawyer soon to join a reputable firm and start his big earning years. Beachum believes the case is a cake walk but Crawford has a few details up his sleeve that'll put the young attorney firmly on the back foot. For example, the arresting officer was the man his wife had been having an affair with. The thrust and parry of Beachum and Crawford in the courtroom provide the meat of the film. The confident Crawford waxes grandiloquent like George Galloway in front of congress as Beachum slowly, steadily, takes it on the chin but homes in on the essence of Ted's game.
The strength of this film lies with Ted Crawford's (Hopkins) laid-back trivial manner. He sits doodling in court oblivious to what is being said, but it is all carefully calculated. The articulate engineer who calmly shot his wife and admitted it to the arresting officer, whilst with a gun in his hand and subsequently signs a written confession - is surely going down for the crime.
Willy Beachum, the confident and cocky attorney accepts the case after Ted asks for it to go straight to trial with no defence team required. He struts into court as if it's his territory - certain the trial will be over in minutes. It soon becomes apparent that Ted has a plan - he pleads `not guilty', through careful orchestration he ensures there is no evidence against himself. From the initial certainty he will go down for the murder of his wife, it looks as though he's going to get away with it.
You can see that he is revelling in the frustration of Beachum, he plays mind games - speaking in symbolic anecdotes. Parallels have been drawn to Hannibal Lector, and you can see why. For the start there's a feeling of calm genius at work, his composure his disturbingly unemotional and you sense his fun at toying with others.
The film needs a worthy Nemesis for Crawford - and Ryan Gosling is convincing as the `best in the business' young and talented attorney. The interactions between the two are darkly humorous and tense. It's these moments which provide the films best scenes.
In a nutshell: The film is very enjoyable, from the first few minutes I was drawn in by Hopkins' cool as a cucumber manner and felt a compulsion to watch in order to see if he would be brought to justice or not. The film doesn't necessarily stay with you much after you've seen it - but for the duration, it's magnetism will draw you in like an iron filling to a fridge magnet.
Mark BarryHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Jun. 2014
Perfectionist and Aircraft Designer Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) pulls up in his Lotus outside a Los Angeles Beach Front property and looks at a man and woman in swimwear walking from a balcony into a bedroom. The woman is his wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz) and the man is Lieutenant Robert "Rob" Nunally - A Hostage Negotiator for the LAPD (Billy Burke).
When Jen finally comes home in her open-top Boxster to their beautifully appointed and luxurious gated home - Ted asks for a hug - tells her he knows about the affair - then takes out a gun and shoots her in the head. When Rob arrives as Negotiator (to talk the gun out of Crawford's hand) - he sees a portrait on the wall and realizes which woman is bleeding out on the kitchen floor. He loses it and attacks Crawford but is pulled off by his boss Detective Flores (Chris Curtis). Driven away in handcuffs - cold Ted smirks at Rob from the back seat of the cop car - like he's somehow going to get away with it (despite the overwhelming evidence against him). Downtown - calm Ted is charged with 1st degree - gives a signed confession and the LAPD even have the murder weapon. It appears to be an open-and-shut case.
Meanwhile in a large LA law firm across town - cocky Prosecutor Willy Beecham (Ryan Gosling) is getting a promotion from his boss the District Attorney (David Strathairn) because hotshot Willy has an impressive 97% conviction rate. In a case shuffle he gets to prosecute Ted Crawford for murder (whose wife hasn't died but is in a coma).Read more ›
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It is not spoiling the plot of Fracture to say from the outset that Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) shot his wife. A seemingly pedestrian case for the prosecution, representing the last trial for Deputy D.A. Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) before he heads off for a grand new job, evolves rapidly into a nightmare.
The case soon starts to crumble, with Beachum's future career likely to follow suit. It is clear that Crawford, defending himself, is a far more able opponent than the Deputy D.A. had planned on. The crystal clear case against the defendant is soon shattered - leaving the prosecutor bereft of a useable confession or even the possession of the murder weapon!
Fracture is part-legal drama, but also partly a story of psychological development. Initially, the viewer is probably rather pleased to see Hopkin's character devastate the arrogant Beacham's evidence. Yet, later in the film, we see the prosecutor become a far more likeable person, and perhaps wish for him to eventually nail his target. It's a film about law, honesty, revenge and compassion. Although the central premise revolves around the mindgames Hopkin's is playing, the film is also effective at generating emotions in the viewer.
The film is not really an action movie, despite the occasional physical drama. However, if you want something more cerebral and wish to avoid stereotypical legal fiction, it is highly recommended. The DVD does not really contain any great shakes in the way of extras. It doesn't really need them. Just sit down and enjoy the film.
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