April 30, 2007 12:00 PM

Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, Rosamund Pike, David Strathairn

BY LEAH ROZEN

SUSPENSE

Anyone who has seen Anthony Hopkins play Hannibal Lecter knows that he excels at portraying brilliant and sophisticated psychos. In Fracture, Sir Anthony plays a similarly twisted smoothie to equally entertaining effect.

In this crafty thriller, wealthy Los Angeles businessman Ted Crawford (Hopkins) shoots his two-timing wife (Embeth Davidtz)—sending her into a coma—but pleads not guilty and chooses to defend himself. Out to nail him is Willy Beachum (Gosling), an ambitious young prosecutor from the wrong side of the tracks who fails to appreciate just how cunning and manipulative Crawford can be.

“I’m not gonna play games with you,” Beachum smugly tells the older man.

“I’m afraid you have to, old sport,” Crawford shoots back.

Other than a superfluous romantic subplot (with Beachum and a corporate lawyer played by the beauteous Pike), Fracture is a cleverly constructed pleasure. Director Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear) moves the action along deftly and gets—this can’t be hard—keen performances from Hopkins and Gosling. (R)

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