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Monday, April 23, 2007

FRACTURE (2007) - Gregory Hoblit

Mediocre thriller #1856, or Fracture is released this week to little fanfare. Directed by Gregory Hoblit, who brought us the breakthrough performance of Edward Norton in Primal Fear, Fracture is about Will Beachum (Ryan Gosling), a young hotshot lawyer undertaking his last case as a prosecutor before joining a large, powerful lawyer firm. He becomes unstuck by the defendant, one Ted Crawford, played by Anthony Hopkins. Crawford is accused of attempting to murder his wife, who was having an affair with a cop. Crawford's case seems an open and shut affair. There's a murder weapon, a confession and an orgy of evidence. However, Beachum finds that Crawford has set him up. None of the case facts are tight, and it looks like Crawford will get off scott-free. And so begins a battle of wits. Will Beachum bring down Crawford? Will he get his dream job? Will Anthony Hopkins decide on which accent he's trying to pull off?!

Fracture isn't necessarily a bad thriller. It's just not a very good one. The case seems to be resting on one piece of evidence which eludes Beachum. For most of the movie, he goes back and forth trying to figure out where this elusive little key to the case is, and a sense of urgency never really is created. Gosling is perfectly fine in the lead role. He pulls off Beachum's sense of arrogance quite well, and knows how to pause, and rub his head in tortured confusion in all the right places.
But the key reason to see this film is Anthony Hopkins. We've seen Hopkins produce some great performances in the past. From the restrained (The Remains of the Day) to the creepy (Silence of the Lambs) to the ludicrous (Van Helsing in Bram Stoker's Dracula), there's no doubt Hopkins can act. But for some bizarre reason, he seems to be in full blown pantomime villain mode in this film. You spend most of the time laughing at his wise-cracks and scratching your head at his accent which ranges from American to Welsh to, inexplicably, Irish and back again. While another actor would get slated for this, there's just something so damn amusing and entertaining about this. And for this reason, you kinda root for him. Hopkins even injects some Lecter in there for good measure. Just so we don't forget he owns an Oscar. In fact, the only thing he's missing is a little wiry moustache to tweak and top hat. Hilarious!

Overall, this is a fairly mediocre thriller. But it's something that'll give you a little entertainment if you've got nothing else to do on a midweek evening. Not essential to see in the cinema. Wait for DVD.

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