Nothing broken about ‘Fracture’

“If you look close enough, you’ll find everyone has a weak spot.” This tagline for the film “Fracture” is the most elementary way to explain this thrilling two-hour ride.When meticulous structural engineer Ted Crawford is found innocent of the attempted murder of his wife, the young district attorney Willy Beachum who is prosecuting him becomes a crusader for justice. “Fracture” is packed with twists and turns that weave in and out of the courtroom as the pair try to outwit each other.

The first noticeable praise for the film is for the impeccable performances. Director Gregory Hoblit (“Primal Fear”) left nothing out, going so far as to include an outstanding supporting cast that boasts the talents of Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn (“Good Night, And Good Luck”) and Rosamund Pike (“Pride & Prejudice”).

Easily the movie’s best assets are the legendary Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. Gosling, with his Academy Award-nominated performance in “Half Nelson,” manages to keep up with the stunning Hopkins without so much as breaking a sweat. In fact, Gosling goes so far as to outline every miniscule detail of his character’s persona, including even the most mundane – right down to how his character holds a fork. More excitingly, Gosling’s style of understatement might just be one of the more exhilarating things to happen to film in quite a long time.

Chances are, without the fabulous entourage of actors, “Fracture” still would stand a chance at being a box office success. The story itself is complicated, detailed and fantastically put together. It keeps the audience on pins and needles through the entire runtime. When the film was at a point where the viewers believed they understood everything going on and they had it all figured out, the screenwriters had us running to catch up with them in the completely opposite direction. Its attempts at being coy, intelligent and entertaining paid off extremely well.

Watching Hopkins’s character (Crawford) engage Gosling (Beachum) in a sinister game of cat and mouse is worth the price of admission. But, more importantly, watching the two characters bend and twist the plot around to leave us with a fantastic story of infidelity, coercion and lies is worth the $20 DVD.

It was definitely one of the more enjoyable films of the year, as well as one for which a second viewing would be beneficial rather than bland. You won’t regret traveling to the nearest theater to see this one even if you aren’t a frequent moviegoer.