Gregory Hoblit played delicately with the courtroom/psychological thriller sub-genre in his debut feature, Primal Fear, back in 1996. With Fracture, he has in many ways come full circle. The two films share some notable strengths: the fine pacing, the ability to present rather intriguing juridical aspects without confusing or boring the viewer, and the playful psychology involved. While one can argue that both films are implausible, it is definitely Fracture which feels like the less likely one of the two. This is a staged, but well-staged film in which Anthony Hopkins blends a little hannibalism with a little Andrew Wyke and seems to enjoy the process, without giving it too much effort. His adversary is lawyer hot shot Ryan Gosling, about to move from the prosecutions office to the corporate sector in order to chase the big money. The duo end up wrestling for the truth as the prosecution struggles to prove Hopkins' seemingly apparent question of guilt after his cheating wife is murdered.
Fracture has a lot of potential in the duel between Hopkins and Gosling. Their first encounter in a prison booth is delightful, but Hoblit isn't quite able to develop the relation like he does with Martin Vail and Aaron Stampler. Instead he is a little too occupied trying to justify the plot inadequacies and a completely unnecessary (but annoyingly mandatory) romantic sub-plot. That doesn't mean that the film doesn't remain interesting and enjoyable throughout, however. Fracture doesn't give us anything new, but it replicates a once beloved formula quite adequately. And of course, a couple of interesting actors help. There's never emptiness behind the eyes of Anthony Hopkins, and he can almost make even Ted Crawford believable.