Cracks in foundation don’t cause ‘Fracture’ to fall

Carly at the Movies column by Carl Larsen

Although there are a few minor cracks in the foundation, “Fracture,” currently playing E.B.S. (everywhere but Staunton), is too good a movie to miss.

Seventy-year-old Sir Anthony Hopkins and 27-year-old Ryan Gosling play, respectively, a clever cuckold who murders his wife and an arrogant young lawyer who prosecutes what looks like an open-and-shut case.

“Fracture” is reminiscent of those taut old film noir babies like “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” as full of twists and turns as a Rube Goldberg contraption and directed smooth as silk by Gregory Hoblit. No wonder – Hoblit is a veteran and has won nine Emmy awards directing projects for Steven Bochco in “L.A. Law,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Hill Street Blues.” He’s a pro, and it shows.

The very beginning sets up the intrigue and captures you immediately. Sir Anthony blows the brains out of his cheatin’ wife, and when the cops arrive, admits it. Switch to the D.A.’s office, where a self-satisfied young lawyer is about to quit and join a big-shot private law firm and make a zillion bucks. He takes the open-and-shut case almost as an afterthought to decorating his new office, and finds out the murderer, who has decided to defend himself, is one smart cookie.

It’s hard to believe that Hopkins has made 16 movies since he was in Staunton making “Hearts in Atlantis” in 2001, but the old Oscar-winner shows his mettle and had me cheering for him to get away with it from the get-go.

What does this fine film lack? Well, as we said at the top, there are a couple of plot slip-ups. And we were expecting a grandiose courtroom speech by Gosling at the end, but it wasn’t necessary.

Every time I see this actor I become more and more impressed. He was great in “The Notebook” in 2004 and copped an Oscar nom last year for his portrayal of a druggie teacher in “Half Nelson.” He’s growing rapidly into a major star.

David Strathairn is his usual competent self as the District Attorney, and sturdy Bob Gunton shows up to deliver The Message.

All in all, it’s a fine little beginning-of-summer flick – one to practice on while getting in the mood for shifting your brains into neutral during all those dumb hot weather blockbusters we’ll have to endure from now until September.

Meanwhile, Back at the Dixie:

“Hot Fuzz” is in town as a first-run film, and should be just as much fun as the rollicking “Shaun of the Dead” British satire back in 2004. Same crew, same cast.

“Shaun” was absolutely the funniest zombie movie ever made, and this new one takes on Tough Cops. It hasn’t played in my town yet. I’m gonna have to desert the big city and move back to Augusta County so’s I can see some good movies!


Carl Larsen is a regular contributor to The New Dominion. Look for his At the Movies column on Mondays.

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