Customer Review

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Slyness of the Lamb, 23 Aug 2007
This review is from: Fracture [DVD] (DVD)
Whoa!! .how to transform an `open and shut case' into Jagged Edge!. Plot simple and brooding, man shoots wife, apparently confesses, and bored indolent up and coming new job lawyer gets instant brownie points - wrong!

Gosling's vacuously disappointing baby faced new recruit to major law practice is carelessly lazy and arrival stressed. He unknowingly and lazily is soon out of his depth as he accepts what appears to be a `facts-obvious' case with Hopkins as the seemingly 'hands-up-I-did' it wife shooter. From then on he is amusingly manipulated with `Seven-like' ease by Hopkins' character who veers alarmingly from Celtic to Gaelic vocals and becomes more and more Hannibalised as the frames click by.

A great novel evidence twist of course, which I won't do a spoiler on, but Hopkins has it all worked out to escape justice and commit the perfect murder. The problem with the movie being..reversal.. One identifies almost immediately with the pastiched Lecktor/Hopkins character and revels in his cleverness. Set against the smug, pasty looking, overworked over-reaching and thoroughly unadmirable mega-salaried legal suit stepping out of inwardly neurotic 'Model man's advert land' he scores instant audience points - you want Hopkins to win !

And predictably he does - up to a point. (beware partial spoiler!!) The film should have ended there with its bleak and cold hearted message that clever people can often `get away with murder' because.. well they planned well and the opposition set against them was inadequate.

The movie offers more stereotypical but nevertheless real glimpses into the money power ego culture of American law firms. Our intangibly supported hero is driven by his new `have to impress' fee-driven culture where moderation of loss of face and maximisation of chargeable time is the god of the day. Marginally explored sexual dynamics abound as the delectably sophisticated Rosamund Pike, socialite and partner level lady lawyer, loses her well suited managerial overview to the inevitable body to body appeal of the fresh faced young potential star. She plys her political trade to save his job as he digs himself further into the mire as the movie unfolds.

Hopkins character borrows heavily from his archetypal criminal psychologist as the perfectionist physics-obsessed meticulous murder planning villain let loose in a visually pleasing film noir environment. He smiles and menaces his way through as only he can, evoking the `chess piece' feeling of a master mind easily outpacing and controlling every stage of the lesser antagonist. This movie therefore reflects much we have seen in previous `courtroom duels' mind against mind, mano e mano and Gosling's character would be an unworthy winner that anyone with an eye for daring and excellence would be unlikely to want to support. He doesn't deserve to win. One yearns for Hopkins v Lt.Columbo to see a decent matched pair slug it out.I'm taking bets now!

In the end which again I won't spoil overtly I was heartily disappointed as Hopkins triumphant villain falls into the worn to fragments cliché of `going back for an ego boast and losing it'. The premise that after all that meticulous and skilful planning and legal manipulation he doesn't truly understand one simple legal differentiation of circumstance and didn't take that into account is truly abysmal and made me groan with that ` crap ending ` ..` is this the best they could think of?' feeling.

Weak Hollywood ending with the wolf going to the slaughter instead of the lamb!

Moral is as ever, ( as he would have known) when you win, walk, win, reflect on your victory alone when you are away in safety. Don't look back, don't feel the need to boast about it, and get the hell out before anyone wises up. As James Woods was famously told in another movie ` You sold it once son, don't buy it back !'

Oh and my reviewer award vote goes to Amanda Richards for the best title `Double Jeopardy for Dummies' and the unique novel device of setting the plot to the score of Eleanor Rigby -brilliantly inventive stuff !
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Aug 2012 15:51:26 BDT
Your missing the point - the legal reality is that Hopkins (I will use his real name) was, in legal terms perfectly safe to boast as much as he liked. In the end, he was put on trial a second time for a murder he did not commit. The wife's life was terminated, albeit with the next of kin's consent, by the Hospital authorities. Further, the bullet could only have been introduced as evidence in the original trial for attempted murder - once he had been found not guilty, the double jeopardy rule would have prevented a second attempted murder trial with the fresh evidence (which it was impossible to produce whilst the wife was still alive for the first trial). Further, once he had been found not guilty of attempted murder, even if the wife then died of her wound rather than by the Hospital authorities withdrawing life support, Hopkins could still not be put on trial a second time for the same offence just because there was now a different outcome.

Hollywood sometimes sure consults some crap lawyers.
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