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Hopkins and Strathairn finally together
Anthony Hopkins Stars in the Thriller "Fracture".
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $21,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

January 25th, 2007: A position with a high-profile law firm is only a couple of weeks away for young hotshot district attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling). His final case before the transition, however, may also be his most difficult. When the devious and dangerously clever Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) has to stand trial for an attempted murder of his wife, he declines access to a lawyer and defends himself. Thanks to a series of technicalities, heís able to evade sentencing, angering his ambitious prosecutor. Willyís ego will not let him rest until heís brought the guilty man to justice and soon he and Ted are fierce adversaries in a dangerous cat and mouse game. As the two struggle to outwit each other, someone must come away on top and Willyís excessive drive to finish the job may be his eventual downfall.

What to Expect: At first glance, Fracture seems like a desperate attempt by director Gregory Hoblit to recapture the winning formula he brought onto the screen with his debut film, Primal Fear. That courtroom thriller also revolved around a cocky lawyer (Richard Gere), whose arrogance prevented him from realizing that his scheming and downright malicious client (Edward Norton) was using him to get off on a murder charge. To be perfectly fair, however, many who saw the film were in the dark just as much as he was, until the movieís big reveal near the end. Hoblit followed the effort up with films that decidedly could not meet the high standard of quality set forth by Primal Fear. Fallen was a respectable supernatural thriller, with Denzel Washington putting forward a solid effort in the lead, while Frequency worked as an enjoyable, time travel sci-fi adventure, despite not always adhering to logic. Hoblitís war drama Hartís War, with Bruce Willis, was an unquestionably more mediocre effort, however. Now, after a five-year break following the highly productive period of four movies in a six year-span, Hoblit returns to the courtroom. Fracture clearly shares similarities with Primal Fear, but the cocky criminal and flawed justice system angles also draw Martin Scorseseís Cape Fear to mind. By throwing Anthony Hopkins into the mix as the cunning villain, one cannot help but think of Silence of the Lambs as well.

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Fractureís strong point easily lies in the casting. Unsurprisingly, the real fun should be in watching Hopkins play one of the most despicable individuals that he has ever taken on. His character reportedly shoots his wife in the head for being unfaithful right at the start of the film. He confesses everything to the police, waves his right to an attorney, and proceeds to defend himself, all the while beaming with arrogance. The courtroom scenes feature him in jailhouse scrubs, which is a cool visual that will go well with his tough and condescending attitude. While Hopkins should have no problem having fun playing the type of dastardly villain we all root for, there is a danger that he might overdo it. His performances have mediocre as of late and I wouldnít want to see him simply regurgitating the sinister side of Hannibal Lecter, without also bringing some of the subtlety and class.

The young and talented Ryan Gosling (The Believer, The Notebook, Murder by Numbers), star of the highly acclaimed recent drama Half Nelson, has been everywhere lately and will have the lead role opposite Hopkins. Reportedly, the filmmakers wanted him on board so badly that they changed the ending to get him to sign up. Hopkins supposedly called Gosling himself to convince him to take the part. Thatís pretty impressive for such a young actor. Going head-to-head with Hopkins is quite the task and unfortunately, early screenings suggest that he still lacks some of the presence to pull off the demanding role convincingly.

The best pairing, however, may be between Hopkins and David Strathairn, both of who are sure to bring weight to their performances. Strathairn has literally been everywhere lately since receiving an Oscar nomination for his compelling performance in Good Night, and Good Luck and is now considered a precious addition to any motion picture. In Fracture, he plays Ryan Goslingís characterís boss, the district attorney, but could have probably made an equally great villain if he were given the role. Sadly, Iím worried that his character will fade into the background and will not get to share any of the riveting scenes with Hopkins that I would hope for.

Early screenings have gone well and there has certainly been praise for the cast, but there have been some complaints about the pictureís shifting focus. Reportedly, the movie revolves solely around Hopkins and his character in the early stages, but then attempts to make a shift to telling Goslingís story, which isnít quite as interesting. It then becomes a little difficult to accept Gosling as the protagonist, having grown accustomed to Hopkinsís character early on. In the end, however, the movie is about Willy Beachum, his handling of the case, and what it makes of him. Still, it might have been more interesting if it stuck to one point of view instead of falsely building up Ted Crawfordís story. Additionally, the film is said to need some trimming, but thatís likely to happen anyway as it frequently does with flicks following pre-screenings. Itís always better to leave more in and get rid of it as you go along.

In Conclusion: Thereís a possibility that Hoblit will be able to churn out a great motion picture, but chances are that Fracture will end up being solid and nothing more. Working within the confines of a mystery courtroom drama doesnít allow much room for creativity so anything short of the twist in Primal Fear will not be enough to propel Fracture into the upper tier of filmmaking. Daniel Pyne, who wrote screenplays for such solid flicks as The Manchurian Candidate and The Sum of All Fears is sure to have another successful, but unremarkable script for Fracture. A standard thriller from standard filmmakers is about the best that should be expected.

Similar Titles: Instinct, Cape Fear, The Firm
April 20th, 2007 (wide)
August 14th, 2007 (DVD)

New Line Cinema

Gregory Hoblit

Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Billy Burke, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davitz, Valerie Dillman, Cliff Curtis

Total: 50 vote(s).

Drama, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated R for language and some violent content.

112 min





Fracture at AskMen.com

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