I saw this movie last night after it was advertised for a couple of weeks on HBO. Fracture stars Anthony Hopkins & Ryan Gosling battling it out in a game of wits. Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz & David Strathairn round out the supporting cast of this fine film.

Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a wealthy & talented Irish aeronautical engineer, who discovers that his wife Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz) is having an affair with police detective Rob Nunally (Billy Burke). Angered, he plots to kill his wife and get away with the murder. It’s a brilliant move! What he does is that he uses the same gun as Nunally and switches them without the latter’s knowledge. He then shoots his wife with Nunally’s gun. At the house, Nunally (who isn’t aware that this is the house of the woman he is seeing) is the only one allowed in to speak with Crawford. When the detective sees that the victim is Jennifer, he rushes to her aid.

Crawford use this moment to switch back the guns. So, Nunally now has the murder weapon and Crawford has his unfired gun. The police are stuck – they have the shooter and a full confession but they have no murder weapon. Or attempted murder weapon – Jennifer is not dead but in a coma. Rising star deputy district attorney William “Willy” Beachum (Ryan Gosling), initially sees this as an open & shut case but is foiled when an initially seemingly uninterested Crawford, serving as his own counsel, instigates Nunally to attack him in open court.

With no evidence to seal the case, the judge is forced to let Crawford go free, especially when the latter says that the confession was coerced out of him by the detective, who was sleeping with his wife. Beachum, who was to join a very lucrative post in a big law firm, is in tatters. He is also unable to stop Crawford pulling the plug on his comatose wife and she dies at the hospital. It is by chance, while his phone & his colleague’s similar cell phone gets switched by accident, that Beachum stumbles onto the plot.

He has the bullet removed from Jennifer’s head and confronts Crawford, tricking him into a full confession. Crawford boasts about the double jeopardy clause, but Beachum reveals that because Jennifer is now dead, Crawford can now be prosecuted for murder, having previously been tried merely for attempted murder. If he had not pulled Jennifer off life support, he could have been protected by the double jeopardy clause. Crawford is arrested by the waiting police.

8 outta 10

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