If there is one thing that anyone, anywhere, can agree upon, it is that Anthony Hopkins portrays an amazing sociopath. His performance as Hannibal Lecter created one of the greatest movie villains of all time.
So when "Fracture" (rated: R; running time: 112 minutes) comes along and promises you Anthony Hopkins playing an uber-intelligent killer, you know that his performance isn’t going to be a disappointing aspect of the film.
The film itself doesn’t disappoint either, though it doesn’t amaze. The drama, twists and mystery are all very basic, even if the story seems clever.
Ted Crawford (Hopkins) finds his wife cheating on him and sets up the perfect crime. Well, it's perfect if the cops act exactly like he plans, the judge says exactly the right things and the right lawyer shows up.
But this is Hollywood, so of course the right lawyer shows up in Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), who’s ready to shoot away from the D.A.’s office to get a bigger paycheck with a private firm and thus rushes through Crawford’s trial causing an acquittal due to technicalities.
This all leads to a game of cat and mouse between the two that, without Gosling and Hopkins, wouldn’t be much more than slightly intriguing. With the pair, the scenes simmer, especially once Crawford starts really getting under Beachum’s skin, always one step ahead of the overachieving lawyer.
But the movie clearly spirals out of control once Beachum is supposed to be outsmarting Crawford. For some reason, such a deliciously clever character, who so meticulously planned his wife’s entire murder, doesn’t see the twist that’s coming, even though the entire audience could.
"Fracture" falters when it follows the stereotypes and rules of a standard crime thriller too closely. Will filmmakers ever get tired of making their lead lawyers like some sort of Judge Dread? Since when does a D.A. get to investigate the crime, make the arrest and basically decide the law?
"Fracture" simply slides into being one of those movies that probably would have made a better episode of "Law & Order."