Great, now Hannibal’s got a gun.

Golden Mug

Actor (Anthony Hopkins)
Original Screenplay (Daniel Pyne & Glenn Gers)

Theatrical Release Date: 04/20/2007
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Anthony Hopkins, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike

Cast aside amongst so much refuse, “Fracture” is one of those rare gems that reminds cynics like me that good cinema can come outside of awards season.

At its core, it’s a simple courtroom chess match. Hopkins kills his wife (Embeth Davidtz) for having an affair. He confesses and a weapon is retrieved from the scene. This case should be a slam dunk for Gosling, an up and coming attorney for the District Attorney’s office … but of course, it isn’t.

I won’t give anything further away although this is one of those instances where I don’t think it matters.

Sure, some people might feel cheated knowing how things would end but “Fracture” isn’t going to stun you like “The Usual Suspects” or “The Sixth Sense”. The ending is more like a good episode of “C.S.I.” (the Las Vegas one, not that melodramatic Miami crap or the even worse New York snorefest).

I’m not knocking the film per se, it’s just that the important thing about “Fracture” isn’t the story, it’s the acting. Simply put, this is probably the finest acting I’ve seen all year and it might take another African genocide film to topple the lead actors this time around.

Starting with the protagonist, Ryan Gosling plays the hotshot prosecutor, who thinks convicting Hopkins will be as easy as getting Paris Hilton to look vapid. His character is cocky and smug but has the charm and intelligence to pull it all off.

With this role, Gosling continues to follow his instinct rather than a paycheck and it is paying off on screen. His performances far outshine those of his contemporaries and are loaded with a subtle, yet powerful presence few other actors can match right now.

Of course, one of the few is Anthony Hopkins. Over the past decade and a half, Sir Tony has reached that level of credibility where he can do no wrong … like where De Niro was before “Meet the Fockers”.

In “Fracture”, Hopkins lays down a performance that is restrained and controlled, but at the same time brimming with evil and cunning. I say this next sentence with no level of hyperbole or bullshit; This is his best performance except possibly that as the infamous Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”.

That’s a tall order, calling forth one of the most iconic villains of cinema history. I know that. And yet, if this film hadn’t been left to languish adrift in a sea of “Next“, “Kickin It Old Skool” and “The Condemned“, I truly think there could be some pretty statues going home to Hopkins and Gosling.

Their chemistry is electric, creating a palpable tension that covers up for most any issues I might have had with the film as a whole. I won’t forget that fact, though I’m sure the marketing machine that is Hollywood will, come the end of the year.

Now, I’m not saying “Fracture” is as good as “Silence of the Lambs”. There are some hokey elements, unresolved plot points and I’m still trying to get the main twist straight in my head (my logic must be in the shop today).

Still, anyone who loves to watch great acting will be more than sated watching this film. I’m giving “Fracture” a 4 out of 5. The film is probably only worth a passing grade but the performances of the actors, Gosling and Hopkins in particular, help elevate a middle-of-the-road suspense film into something much more.