Ten Crawford (very good Anthony Hopkins) takes a moment to look in his beloved wife’s eyes and then shots her in her head. Instead of running a way, he calmly waits with a gun in his hand for the police to arrive and arrest him. It’s not obvious whether he is a broken and hurt man who lost sense of life after finding out that his woman was cheating on him or just a cynical psychopath. Having a crime weapon and confession, the attorney’s assistant, Willy Beachum (great Ryan Gosling), who is famous for winning almost all of his cases and is about to begin his corporate career, believes that putting Ten behind bars is nothing but a pure formality. Everything changes when it turns out that the gun that the shooter was holding is not the one that was used in the attempted murder and that actual weapon miraculously disappeared. Beachum quickly realizes that Crawford is playing with the police and that his confession was a part of his cunning plan. The action of “Fracture”, directed by Gregory Hoblit, is concentrated on duel of two titans: incredibly brilliant Ten and Willy, who has to face not only his genius opponent, but also his own weaknesses – fear and inability of losing and temptation for better life and money in a private institution.
The director of the movie is draws the audience into a frapping and thrilling struggle of two minds that not only fight against each other but also remain fascinating about each other. Initially Ten is the one that has a permanent advantage – he is not only aware of Willy’s weak points, but also knows that young public prosecutor doesn’t take the entire case too seriously, because he thinks that proving the guilt would be easier than getting out of the bed on Monday morning. Hoblit gives a lot of attention to Willy’s internal conflicts. The scenes in which the protagonist breaks and loses control are very intense, but also truly moving. What’s more, the dramaturgical tension seems to be based on Beachum’s dilemmas that are presented as archetypical duals between good and evil. The scene in which the prosecutor is fighting against the temptation of using false evidence is one of the moments in the entire story.
“Fracture” owns is success – above all – to Hopkins and Gosling that manage to never stop intriguing their audience and make their battle hypnotizing. Nevertheless, the old virtuoso remains in the shadows of the incredible performance of young Gosling who turns this good, but not outstanding thriller into a great, emotional spectacle. He is brilliant in playing both – a confident natural born winner who seems to be made for a corporate rat race and a broken man who is making his lesson of humility.
The plot is obviously full of interesting twists, but – paradoxically – the end is not very surprising, because we are aware of the clarity of the situation – we know who the shooter was and expect Gosling’s character to win. The construction of the movie makes the ending twist weaker and maybe even disappointing. The best part of “Fracture” happens in the middle of the movie – when we observe Crawford’s and Beachum’s dual; are amazed with Ted’s cynicism and clever manipulation in the court, and – last but not least, watch Willy’s battle against his own demons and his internal triumph of fairness, good, and empathy.