Fracture is the story of Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), a wealthy aeronautical engineer who shoots his wife (Embeth Davidtz) after discovering her affair with a man half his age and about her age. It’s up to cocksure young prosecutor Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) to convict Crawford, but in spite of his immediate confession the case turns out not to be as straightforward as it first seemed…
Hopkins as a manipulative and highly intelligent killer facing a young prosecutor is a set-up that’s been done before. Will even shares a name with Lecter’s Red Dragon nemesis. But in actual fact the film is different enough from Hopkins’ Lecter trilogy to stop it feeling like a rip-off.
Released in 2007, Ryan Gosling shows signs of being a decent lead before he became a household name, but Hopkins phones it in a bit. His accent flits around the British Isles then across the pond. According to IMDb he’s meant to be Irish, but it might have been easier to let him be Welsh. Maybe the character was written for Liam Neeson. That would at least partially explain the age of his wife, because then she’d only be 13 years younger than her husband, rather than 27.
Apart from the accent Hopkins’ performance is subtle enough. It’s not that he’s bad, we just know he’s capable of more. The gloomy cinematography and distractedly unnatural lighting let down some strikingly designed sets, but that apart it enjoys solid direction and makes good on its premise. What results is a daft but consistently interesting thriller; let’s call it The Silliness of the Lambs.