Ryan Gosling will complete his cinematic hat trick this weekend with the political drama “The Ides of March,” playing a hungry press secretary on the campaign trail with George Clooney’s earnest presidential candidate, Mike Morris. The film, based on the Beau Willimon play “Farragut North,” is getting the kind of approval rating a world leader would kill for, but before you slap down your $10 and load up on the Junior Mints, I suggest you check out another of Gosling’s intrigues, 2007’s “Fracture.”
In fact, I’d call the underrated crime drama a companion piece of sorts to “Ides of March.” I mean, after the events of “Fracture,” I could totally see Gosling’s Willy Beachum eschewing the district attorney’s office in favor of a political position supporting a man he believes could change the country. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As I alluded to, “Fracture” follows Gosling as hot-shot deputy district attorney Beachum, who’s been tasked with a seemingly open-and-shut case: the prosecution of Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), who admitted to shooting his wife. But the attempted murder case (predictably) doesn’t go as planned. For one, the arresting officer (“Twilight”’s Billy Burke) was having an affair with the victim and assaulted Crawford upon arrest. For another, Crawford’s gun does not match the murder weapon. Defending himself, Crawford goes up against cocksure Beachum and is acquitted.
It’d be easy for Beachum to forget about this failure (one of very few), considering he’s been tapped for a posh position at a corporate law firm. But much like a detective who’s flagged a case on the day of his retirement, Beachum can’t shake Crawford’s win in court.
In a series of twists and turns (that I won’t reveal here as they’d give away the satisfying finale), Beachum finally realizes Crawford hasn’t committed the perfect crime and sets about ensnaring his greatest antagonist.
With a darkly playful cat-and-mouse setup and plenty of imaginative lawyering, “Fracture” is the kind of feature that “Law and Order” fans will eat up with a spoon. To be sure, it isn’t quite on par with my favorite Anthony Hopkins thriller, “The Silence of the Lambs,” but it’s not a stretch to call Gosling and Hopkins the latter-day Starling and Lecter. Their chemistry is just that good.
Tell us about your Sick Day Stash picks in the comments section and on Twitter!