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May 20th, 2007 (10:18 pm)

Another May, another Mother's Day, and another trip to the multiplex with Mama Wakasa.

© 2007 D. Gordon

This year's choice was Fracture, with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. It's a story of a perfect crime, with Hopkins as Ted Crawford, a man who shuts himself in his home and shot his wife, although... things aren't quite as obvious as they seem. Clear evidence is no longer clear; confessions no longer admissible, and the DA's office comes off looking pretty inept. Ryan Gosling is the young, arrogant city prosecutor Willie Beachum, about to hop on the up escalator of his brilliant career, who figures this case will add a notch to his belt. He's convinced that the case can't be lost even if he sleepwalks through it – until he realizes that his sleepwalk is becoming a nightmare as Crawford destroys his case.

I went into this with low- to mid-level expectations; I've been doing a lot of non-Hollywood fare lately (as you can tell) and this just wasn't number one on my list of things to see. I didn't know much about the plot and cast, or what kind of reviews it was getting. Despite all that, or maybe because of it, both my mother and I enjoyed the film.

Anthony Hopkins is always a delight. He's often slightly typecast as Hannibal Lechter Light, and this is no exception. But the man does it so well that it's never a problem. He's evil, although arguably provoked; perhaps the evil lies more in how a man can so brilliantly plan and execute a crime and get away with it. (Told ya – Lechter Light.) Hopkins's one slight weakness is a surprise: the Irish accent that suddenly appears after about the half-hour mark, almost like an afterthought. ("Oh, yeah – Crawford's an Irish name. I know - Let's make him Irish!") A little disruptive, a little unnecessary, but not bad enough to throw you out of the story.

Ryan Gosling does a workmanlike job with Willie, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks who has the drive, intelligence, and ambition to reach for the big leagues – but hasn't yet lost the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. He's willing to do the questionable to get what he wants, although he hasn't yet completely sold his soul to do it.

Rosamund Pike's Nikki Gardner is interesting – both a hard-edged lawyer and Willie's rather decent love interest – although it's not quite clear what her role is. Is she the Obligatory Female Role? Even with the apple? Willie's conscience (in a backhanded way)? It's a bit of a shame that this talented British actress (who didn't have an accent issue) was given a role which should have been a little more defined.

The look of the film is rather surprising, especially for what it is. is especially interesting in his use of light early on as the characters are being established. One prime example is Willie's humble rooms, bathed in golden late afternoon sunlight; it's an impressive touch, and there's information there to be learned, but we have to stare hard into the light to see what's displayed. There's such meaning and symbolism in those early uses of light. I just wish it'd been continued throughout the movie.

All in all, though, it was a good movie for an afternoon out with Mama Wakasa, and just an outing in general. Surprisingly, she went on at length to Sister Wakasa about what a good time she'd had. I'm glad it worked out, and I'm glad the movie idea has worked out in general. Sometimes Mama Wakasa and I do have some things in common.