Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Movie Review: Fracture.

Fold in two premier actors; mix in a courtroom drama; and stir in ethical dilemmas.

It's a recipe for an engaging film. Fracture is the filmic equivalent of a gourmet souffle.

Like a souffle, its quality depends on quality ingredients. This film featured Anthony Hopkins (of Silence of the Lambs fame) and Ryan Gosling (of The Believer and The Notebook fame) in a intergenerational acting tete-a-tete. While Gosling held his own as a young prosecutor, Hopkins won this standoff as the defendant being prosecuted (and representing himself). While Hopkins' character loosely paralled his diabolical creation in Silence (both are eerily brilliant and manipulative), it was not merely derivative. However, Hopkins' performance here was not flawless. Surprisingly, his affected Irish accent appeared and disappeared much like Loch Ness monster sightings.

Also like a souffle, the story took some time to rise. No microwaves here. The plot was predictably set with an opening murder. However, due to a lack of information, viewers, like Gosling's character, are kept from crucial details. The full facts were doled out in superb pacing, so as to maximize the tension and mystery. These further ingredients of the souffle went down sourly at times because of inaccuracies--some minor and some major. Since I've been there many times, I recognized the downtown LA civil courthouse, which the movie erroneously passed off as the criminal courthouse. Gosling's character, therefore, would not be performing any prosecutions in the civil courthouse, as the movie would have it. This variance is obviously minor. More significantly, the plot twist at the end (I'll be vague to avoiding spoiling) depended on an erroneous legal theory. On the surface, it had an appeal, but ultimately would not withstand legal scrutiny. But, hey, it's a movie--suspend your disbelief and enjoy.

Fracture receives a B++ or A- -.

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