Cast: Ryan Gosling plays a young, overconfident, ambitious Deputy District Attorney named Willie Beachum. Rarely ever losing a court case, Willie finally meets his match and has to rethink and outsmart the man on the opposite end of the table. The character who is Willie’s mental match is none other than Ted Crawford, played by Anthony Hopkins. Ted Crawford is so meticulous with his so-called perfect crime that he toys with Willie’s ego like a master at a chess game with his every move. The woman who is the middle of all this due to her affair with a detective is Jennifer Crawford, played by Embeth Davidtz. Billy Burke plays Lt. Rob Nunally who is the detective (and hostage negotiator) that is having the affair with Ted’s wife. When Willie decides to take on another higher paying position at another firm, he goes and tells his District Attorney. David Strathairn, plays the District Attorney who plays an important role in Willie’s decision in taking on the court case and getting advice about the case he’s taking on. Rosamunde Pike plays Nikki Gardner who is Willie’s new boss. Nikki and Willie have an immediate attraction to each other and have to find a way to balance their personal lives with work.
Basic movie facts: There are several boxes that can be seen in the background when Gosling sits in his office. The names on the boxes are of the cinematographer, set designers and second assistant directors if you look close enough. There is a slight reference to James Bond in the movie towards Willie in court by the judge, but that was only because Rosamunde Pike (Nikki Gardner) was in the movie “Die Another Day”. Billy Burke played Charlie Swan in the Twilight movies, so when Ted Crawford says that there are “a lot of vampires out there” to Lt. Rob Nunally (Burke), you know why.
Pros: As a person who takes and loves photography, it’s very common for me to view cinematography as a moving photograph. I have my own rules where if a movie can be paused at any time in the entire film and look like a perfect photograph, then I know that is talent with the cinematographer. This movie had that. Every frame was beautifully set and lighting was perfect. I was amazed at how easy each scene transitioned to another without too much effort and the angles and dimensions were smooth and flawless. You can thank Kramer Morgenthau for such exquisite talent because you might have even seen many of his works from the list of 43 films he’s been involved in. If Hannibal had a nicer brother, it would be Ted Crawford who was played superbly by Anthony Hopkins. You can definitely see the pure and easy talent Mr. Hopkins brings to the movie. As you may already know, John Grisham is one of my favorite authors and his books deal with lawyers and suspense, so this movie was easy for me to understand.
Cons: I think Willie should have worn a hidden mic somewhere in his shirt to tape all the verbal confessions Ted Crawford gave him throughout the movie. But if he had done that, the movie would have lasted less than 45 minutes and that would not have been too fun, would it? I think Nikki Gardner’s character’s was thrown in last minute to give the characters a softer side and leverage out the seriousness of the court case, but I think the movie still could have worked without her.
Music score: Music scores were produced by Mychael Danna. I especially liked the track called “I decide when it gets pulled”. This particular track is mysterious, dark yet suspenseful. Just the sounds of the rapid pace of the drums is enough to get your own heart beating faster than usual for this particular scene. Even if I never saw the movie before, just hearing the track is frightening! Well played Mychael Danna, well played (no pun intended). Mychael then goes on to make another track called “Beachum” in reference to Ryan’s character. The track starts off confident, sexy and alluring only to end much differently than when it began, just like the revolution of Beachum’s character in the movie. If you liked the music in the movie “Life of Pi” then you are already familiar with Danna’s work. He won an Academy award for Best Original Score for “Life of Pi”. Pretty impressive!
Favorite quote: The reason why this movie was cleverly named “Fracture” is because the object in question may look fine and without any fault, but a small fracture somewhere (the weak spot) can be found and once found, can easily be broken. Ted Crawford already knew Willie’s weak spot, but it took Willie longer to find out what Ted’s weak spot was in order to break him.
Ted Crawford: “No, I used to candle eggs at his farm. Do you know what that is? You hold an egg up to the light of a candle and you look for imperfections. The first time I did it he told me to put all the eggs that were cracked or flawed into a bucket for the bakery. And he came back an hour later, and there were 300 eggs in the bakery bucket. He asked me what the hell I was doing. I found a flaw in every single one of them – you know, thin places in the shell; fine, hairline cracks. You look closely enough, you’ll find that everything has a weak spot where it can break, sooner or later.”
Audience reaction: This movie is a psychological thriller, one of my favorite types of movies to watch. I love story lines where there is mental challenge between two very strong and equipped characters. The movie tells you what happened, but it does not tell you how it happened, which is great to figure out as the movie unfolds. I was transfixed and mesmerized the entire movie as I watched it online. This was a fun movie to review! I should do more Ryan Gosling movie reviews throughout this year.
Relatability: I personally know two negotiators. It definitely takes a certain type of person to do such a job. Anyways, I highly recommend this movie. Go see it!