Don't worry, Peter Travers was just exaggerating when he called Fracture a "twist-a-minute thriller," as quoted on the back of this DVD's box. That would be 113 twists -- 110 too many even by M. Night Shyamalan standards. In fact, the film's really not all that twisty. But it does work the nerves quite well and keep you guessing, even if the film's central mystery (where's the murder weapon?) is surprisingly simplistic. It also features two of the best actors of their generations in Anthony Hopkins (back in homicidal mode!) and Ryan Gosling, and neither disappoint. Gosling is Willy Beachum, a Los Angeles city prosecutor from the Kevin Lomax/Rudy Baylor/Jake Tyler Brigance School of Charming Southern Lawyers who's just struck gold with a corporate gig (unlike Lomax, though, his new boss isn't actually the devil). His last dirt-paying trial should be an open-and-shut case: The absurdly wealthy Ted Crawford (Hopkins) has just busted a cap in his adulterous wife's cheekbone, waited for the cops to arrive, and signed a confession. But of course this is Homicidal Hopkins we're dealing with, and he quickly makes the young lawyer's life hell when, defending himself, he pulls some tricks out of his sleeves and begins coasting to a not-guilty verdict. This of course ravages the career of Willy, who undoubtedly owns the story's most intriguing character arch. Not that we don't care about Hopkins' twisted handiwork, but there's just something more interesting about watching someone grow a conscience than never really having one in the first place.
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Bonus Points: The disc features 33 twist-free minutes of deleted scenes and two alternate endings... Do Willy Beachum and Crazy Ted Crawford walk off into the sunset together in one of those? We ain't telling.
Scott Frank, writer of that underrated gem Out of Sight, makes his directorial debut with another sharp and clever crime thriller that pits a mentally impaired Joseph Gordon-Levitt against a crew of cold-blooded heist men. We get another excellent turn from JGL, as well as Jeff Daniels, who still hasn't shaved since The Squid and the Whale.
God Grew Tired of Us
It's not just an extraordinary story of three Lost Boys of Sudan transplanted to United States (namely, Pittsburgh and Syracuse) that provides great insight into the way those from such a distant culture consume America, it's also a hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy. So yes, you'll cry, you'll laugh... or vice versa.