Director Gregory Hoblit's Fracture—like his earlier Primal Fear—plays mind games for fun and profit. Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers' screenplay doesn't hold up to a lick of scrutiny, which is a shame, since it provides such juicy material for a pair of contrasting actors who, against the odds, seem both to be at the top of their game. Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling square off over an attempted murder, and the results are often gleefully entertaining.
The murderous Ted Crawford (Hopkins) is openly messing about with the police and the junior DA on his case, Willy Beachum (Gosling). Beachum's riding high on a 97% conviction rate (secured by dumping the losers); he's also got one foot out the door of public service, having scored a prime position at the high-powered law firm of Wooton, Sims & Crowley. There, he's wooed by a top-flight salary, high-society perks, and new colleague Nikki Gardner (Rosamund Pike), who promptly becomes his girlfriend.
Though he says, "I just didn't work this hard to stay where I belong," Beachum can't quite cut the cord at his old job. D.A. Joe Lobruto (David Strathairn) is giving him the father of all guilt trips for absconding to the private sector and screwing up the Crawford case in the process. Worse, Crawford keeps goading and one-upping Willy, with escalating vigor. All signs point to an acquittal for a man who confessed to his crime.
Hoblit makes thrillers that tend to be more sleek than slick (credit where it's due: Kramer Morgenthau's photography is exquisite). Though Fracture is far-fetched, its dialogue is whip-smart and dense, making it an unusually entertaining potboiler. The expert cast helps: Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw, Xander Berkeley, and Bob Gunton fill out the fine ensemble, and headliners Hopkins and Gosling shine. Fracture doesn't mean much of anything—other than to warn against pride before a fall—but for a while, it's a crafty mousetrap, and plenty entertaining until its eventual mechanical failure.
Fracture looks gorgeous on Blu-ray, in a film-like transfer that captures every nuance of its autumnal palette and preserves the foreground detail of this recently minted thriller. Shadowy backgrounds lack definition, but having seen the film in theaters, I can attest that the image is true to the original visual scheme, which puts greater focus on the actors and an overall texture. A definitive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix captures the subtleties of dialogue (Hopkins' often hushed tones) and ambience that make Fracture delightfully creepy.
Though the disc includes no commentary or behind-the-scenes featurettes, bonus footage illuminates the tinkering process of testing, reshooting and editing that resulted in the final ending of the film. We get five "Deleted and Alternate Scenes" (11:12 with "Play All" option, HD), including two alternate versions of Gosling and Pike's love scene; two lengthy "Alternate Endings" (22:47 with "Play All" option, HD) with minor differences that shift the tone and impact; and the film's "Theatrical Trailer" (2:20, HD).
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer