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Reviewers' grade: C

A suspense-thriller does not need big plot twists to work its nail-biting magic; half the fun can be watching the inevitable unfold. Still, predictability isn't much of a selling point, and chances are you'll figure out the central mystery of "Fracture" long before its midway point.


Anthony Hopkins does a variation on his Hannibal Lecter shtick as Ted Crawford, a brilliant engineer who shoots his wife in the face because she's been having an affair with a police detective. The case is assigned to hotshot Assistant District Attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), who assumes he can wrap up a guilty plea and get busy with his new job at a cushy private law firm. No such luck.


Arrogant Willy soon finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with a cunning mastermind who get his jollies toying with the judicial system. Hopkins and Gosling are excellent, but they cannot acquit a script so meandering, dimwitted and glaringly implausible. R


"?Phil Bacharach 


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