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Anthony Hopkins plays the cat to Ryan Gosling’s mouse in this glossy thriller from Gregory Hoblit, whose CV (including 1996’s Primal Fear and 2002’s Hart’s War) demonstrates he’s a slick journeyman.

Hopkins is the wealthy Irish-American engineer who’s flagrantly killed his wife but has so arranged things that the case against him appears to be falling apart in the courtroom, in spite of the fact he was found with the weapon in his hand and has fessed up. Can public prosecutor Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) nail him?

The film is more a howdunit than a whodunit, and ingenious enough, though Fracture does come with its own faultlines. There’s simply not enough Hopkins, and not enough wisdom at the writing/directing end of the production to spot that the scenes between Gosling and Hopkins are what makes the film tick (in spite of the fact that Hopkins has decided his character is some faint relation of Hannibal Lecter).

And then there’s the decision to drag in Rosamund Pike to play footsie with Gosling in a sexy-siren subplot. Right girl, wrong film.

Fracture – watch it/buy it at Amazon

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© Steve Morrissey 2007

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