The glib entertainment Fracture offers an assortment of tasty treats, notably the spectacle of that crafty scene stealer Anthony Hopkins mixing it up with that equally cunning screen nibbler Ryan Gosling.
Here is a big, handsome shyster of a legal thriller, pleading with the viewer to stick with its preposterous twists and turns on the guarantee that the crowning revelation will blow our socks off. In this, as in all things, the film is not to be trusted.
The movie seems so content to be smarter than you're expecting that it never amounts to more than a talky tease. What's breezy about the first half of the picture turns logy in the second.
[Gosling's] the kind of actor who makes other actors look lazy. He is Brando at the time of Streetcar, or Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, and altogether one of the more remarkable happenings at the movies today.
Although Hopkins could surely portray a charismatic killer in his sleep by now, he's clearly having a ball, while Gosling, gliding through every scene with deceptively casual confidence, seems determined to prove himself the best actor of his generation.
The movie's logic fails at the end -- it betrays a criminal blind spot in its reasoning -- but you're best off not subjecting it to any prolonged analysis. Don't think. Just watch.
Fracture is no Silence of the Lambs. In fact, it's no Primal Fear. Anthony Hopkins may well be smarter than all of us put together, but his busy career sometimes has more breadth than wit.