Gregory Hoblit is an under appreciated and often overlooked director. His biggest films to date are the uber-creepy Primal Fear and the Denzel Washington-fueled Fallen. In 2000 he directed the paranormal and much skipped-over Frequency (which this writer felt was one of the better films released in that year) In 2002 he directed Bruce Willis and an up-and-coming Colin Farrell in the World War II film Hart’s War, which pretty much tanked in the box office but is a film I can’t stop watching. It has been five years since we last heard of Hoblit and he returns in full force with the brilliant film Fracture.
With superlative performances from both Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling, Fracture centers around a millionaire aeronautics designer who shoots his adulterous wife in a jealous rage only to have her survive and become comatose. One of the police officers that investigates the crime scene turns out to be the man with whom Hopkins’ wife was having the affair. Assigned to prosecute Hopkins is the young and arrogant assistant DA Gosling. On his way out of criminal law and moving into corporate law, Gosling takes to prosecuting Hopkins because he has already written a confession and the case seems open and shut. When the crime scene fails to account for the murder weapon the movie unravels into a cat-and-mouse game and a cavalcade of mind games and charades.
Fracture is Anthony Hopkins at his best and there are definitely flashes of Hannibal Lecter in his cold and calculating delivery. Gosling, fresh off his Oscar-nominated turn in the indie film Half Nelson, matches Hopkins stride for stride. He continues to make his claim as one of the most promising young actors to appear on screen in quite some time.
From a movie junkie standpoint, Fracture is shot incredibly well and there are camera angles in this film that are worth the admission fee. Where the film does come up short is that it dawdles a little and, though suspenseful and thought-provoking, the movie doesn’t seem to carry an emotional wallop or a stick-you-in-the-gut kind of flair. Also, talented actors like David Straithairn and Embeth Davidtz unfortunately don’t bring much to their roles and pretty much could have been played by anybody.
With all that being said, Fracture still very much delivers and is worth both seeing and recommending to others. 8 out of 10.