A solid cinematic chess match with legal thriller trappings, Fracture centers around Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), a well-to-do man who kills his cheating wife, and readily admits it to the responding police officer. Crawford has his eyes on a bigger game, though, and mitigating circumstances, including the lack of a matching weapon, give him several important trump cards when he decides to represent himself in court against hotshot Los Angeles assistant district attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling).

A very well made genre picture full of smartly modulated friction, Fracture is predicated on a few significant leaps in believability, certainly (a murder case going to trial in under two weeks, for one), but director Gregory Hoblit (NYPD Blue, Primal Fear) knows his way around the criminal justice system. Hopkins, of course, is reliably steady. Gosling, meanwhile, gives a great, engrossing performance as the slick, narcissistic Willy — a blithe egotist with one foot already out the door for a lucrative job at a private law firm. When he comes under fire and suddenly finds an embarrassing blight on his near-perfect record, it ignites in him a deep competitive instinct that Fracture, quite agreeably, never pawns off on a reawakened idealism. Willy’s a bit of a jerk, actually, but never less than fascinatingly watchable. For the full capsule review, from CityBeat, click here.


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