Saturday, April 21, 2007

New Movie Review: "Fracture"

Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs) is one of those actors who play understated creepiness really well. Hopkins doesn't flail his arms about to create hysteria, no, he keeps his body rigid as he lets his voice tell the story. Skin crawls when he opens his mouth.

Hopkins gets the opportunity to be that type of actor in the movie Fracture. In the opening sequence, he kills his wife with disturbing normalcy. He has perfectly planned out this murder, as he manages to make it seem like he is innocent in the eyes of the court. The prosecuting attorney, played by Ryan Gosling (The Notebook) with a slightly odd Southern accent, is initially arrogant, ready to leave the DA's office for greener pastures. Gosling's character, Willie Beachum, becomes increasingly frustrated as he runs into dead ends that Hopkins character, Crawford, set up. As Willie's bright future seems to be slipping away, Crawford steps up the mind games.

It has been a while since I saw a pure drama. This movie is a pure drama. Aside from the opening murder, there is very little "action". There are no car chases or big explosions. The focus is purely on Gosling and Hopkins. The film tries to shoehorn a romantic subplot with Gosling's character, but it never really materializes and sorta fizzles out in the end. Some lawyer cliches pop up, but they are actually brushed aside as ridiculous and they movie uses them in a refreshing way.

This is a movie with a lot of talking. Normally, that could be very boring. But in the capable hands and mouths of Hopkins and Gosling, the movie never bogs down in exposition. Things move at brisk pace and only drags at bit in the middle. But it is a brief drag and things soon pick up. This movie is definitely an intriguing bit of cinema.

4 Old Sports out of 5.

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