DATELINE: MOVIES TO SEE!
Fracture in 2007 pitted grand actor Anthony Hopkins in a battle of wits with young up-and-comer Ryan Gosling. If you were expecting the torch of acting generations to be passed, you’d be torched in a different way.
The plot revolves around how a mysterious billionaire (Hopkins) on trial for shooting his wife makes mincemeat of a supercilious and arrogant assistant prosecutor (Gosling). We didn’t expect to see Frederic March and Spencer Tracy battling in Inherit the Wind, nor see Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole matching wits in Becket. We didn’t even see Gloria Swanson trump William Holden with a couple of bullets.
It’s no contest in the movie plot, and there is a lesser contest in the acting chops. The Hopkins character out-bests the Gosling character at every turn. It is even more pitiful in the thespian arena. The young star would have given Lee Strasberg a Method headache.
It would be unfair to call Gosling an empty suit. He fills his pants with amplitude. Yet, there is about him something of a blank page in personality. Whatever he plays on screen rings false. He’s a movie star, not a character actor.
Hopkins even in his youthful days opposite Peter O’Toole in Lion in Winter was a requisite character actor as Richard the Lion-Hearted. Here in his later career, Hopkins has to play off the script, which seems to take pleasure in making a laughingstock of the Hollywood leading men of today.
Too bad no one let Ryan Gosling in on the joke. He plays the role with everything in his arsenal and still seems outgunned. Alas, there are too many scenes with Gosling, and not enough with Hopkins.
The movie production plays the movie plot, and therein comes the insider pleasure. Fracture satisfies the audience in ways they may never have expected, but they used to do it better every week on the old Columbo shows.
You may sample other movie insights and reviews in MOVIES TO SEE –OR NOT TO SEE by William Russo. The book is available in both e-book and softcover on Amazon.com