A refreshingly simple, Grisham-style legal thriller, Fracture lays out its agenda early on and never feels the need to delve into absurdities or tack on sixteen endings in order to complete its business. Anthony Hopkins stars as Ted Crawford, a man who, despite living in a hilltop mansion, is still apparently going to work every day, which can't be the definition of success for someone his age. We're informed early on that his younger wife (Embeth Davidtz) is having a reckless love affair and seems eager to have the big discussion with her husband rather than quietly put a stop to her activities, as he would prefer. He's a typical Hopkins character endowed with a silent British suffering that's laughably out of place amidst the Grand Guignol of Los Angeles. He's also endowed with that typically Hopkins-style compulsion -- that endless mental finger-drumming that goes on in the head of most of his characters. Early and often, we see him staring at an elaborate mousetrap-style contraption in his home that he apparently built himself.

The whole plot revolves around whether Crawford is actually as smart as he thinks he is, so I won't make a comment on that, lest I give away the store. Upon learning that his wife's paramour is actually a lowly cop, he comes up with an elaborate plan to murder her in the home they share and then have the cop (played by Billy Burke) arrive first on scene. Once arrested, he will dramatically reveal buckets of evidence that the cop and the rich wife were having a torrid affair, which he thinks should be sufficient grounds to have the entire arrest declared inadmissible in court. If it were me, I'd probably think I owed it to myself to put in a couple years in night school researching that before I put my plan into action, but he seems pretty confident about it. Opposing him will be Ryan Gosling, a young hotshot from the D.A.'s office who doesn't need a high-profile, complicated case like this one on the eve of being offered an associateship at a swanky private firm.