Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) and Ryan Gosling (The Notebook) star in the first marginally noteworthy psychological thriller of the year, Fracture. I’m ignoring Halle Berry’s The Perfect Stranger which was released a few months ago, because it looked too contrived for me to even bother with it. Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a wealthy businessman with a philandering young wife, while Gosling is Willie Beachum, a young, cocky district attorney faced with the task of prosecuting Crawford after he’s accused of his wife’s attempted murder.

Hopkins brings his trademark deliberate, methodical psychosis to the role, although his performance is tempered with cool and a certain suaveness that Hannibal Lecter lacked. His Ted Crawford isn’t a raving lunatic; after all, how many cheating spouses have met a similar fate, both real and imagined? Nevertheless, Beachum and Mrs. Crawford’s lover, a police detective, embark on a crusade to see that justice finds Crawford, who seems to be one step ahead of them. Gosling shines in his role as a prosecutor with one foot out the door. His Beachum has already accepted a loftier position with a big law firm when Crawford’s case is dropped on his desk. It is his lackadaisical attitude combined with Crawford’s smug assuredness that set the stage for this battle of wits, a chess match between two towering egos. Will the senior outfox the young upstart? I won’t give it away.

Fracture made for a passable day at the movies, but what I’m really looking forward to is Mr. Brooks, which opens this week. Please someone revive the psychological thriller, I’m begging you!

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