Fracture (2007)

(In theaters, April 2007) At a time where out-of-left-field plot twists are becoming the norm in the thriller genre, it’s a refreshing change to see a competent howhedidit rather than a ludicrous whodunit. Here, there’s little doubt that Anthony Hopkins’ character shot his wife: the only question is how he was able to do it and yet do his best to escape every effort to convict him for the crime. Despite at least one huge whopper of a coincidence and a very convenient suicide, Fracture nonetheless moves along at a pleasant pace, in no small part due to Hopkins’ self-aware acting, and a decent turn by Ryan Gosling as a young cocky lawyer who learns better. Pay attention, and you will even hear a heartening bit of public service boosterism. Otherwise, well, Los Angeles is convincingly portrayed, the direction is efficient, and there’s a guilty thrill in looking at the brilliant antagonist as everyone plays according to his plan. While not flawless, or even truly memorable, this film will do as rainy afternoon entertainment.

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