Recalling his chilling performance in The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins creates a conflicted but cunning criminal in this tantalizing psychological thriller.
When mechanical engineering industrialist Ted Crawford (Hopkins) realizes that his beautiful, much-younger wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz) is committing adultery, he cleverly plans the perfect murder and meticulously executes it. But theres a strategic twist. The LAPD detective (Billy Burke) who arrests him is stunned to discover that Jennifer is the mysterious woman with whom hes been having a clandestine affair, a sordid detail he fails to disclose to ambitious assistant district attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), who has a 97% conviction rate.
So when Crawfords case comes to court, Willy suddenly discovers he lacks hard evidence for what should be a clear-cut conviction, much to the chagrin of his boss (David Strathairn). Willys frustration is heightened because hes been offered a lucrative position with a prestigious law firm and opportunistically seduced by his mentor (Rosamund Pike). It seems that a weak spot, or fracture, can be found in any facade.
Superbly crafted by screenwriters Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers and directed with fluid grace by Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear, Frequency), its a puzzling, character-driven howd-he-do-it, as opposed to whodunnit. Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau and production designer Paul Eads achieve exquisite visual elegance utilizing Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall, L.A.s new performing arts center.
With the naturalism of a young James Stewart, Ryan Gosling focuses the emotions of someone caught in an ethical and moral dilemma. As the witty, emotionally manipulative killer, Anthony Hopkins strikes not a single false note in a precise, tightly controlled, fiendishly combustible character. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Fracture is an intense, intriguing 8. Challenging and provocative, its hard to stop thinking about.