Wipe those bad memories of Hannibal Rising out of your head. This year’s real Silence of the Lambs sequel is Fracture, which has Anthony Hopkins chewing up his role as a more generic but equally diabolical psychopath — Ted Crawford, an engineering genius who confronts his unfaithful wife and shoots her point blank in the face. Sweetening the deal is the terrific Ryan Gosling as Willy Beachum, an ambitious prosecutor assigned to a seemingly open-and-shut case that ends up collapsing spectacularly. Director Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear) keeps things brisk and stylish, which is good enough. Cat-and-mouse scenes between Gosling and Hopkins generate the kind of sparks that keep decent screenwriters in business, with the older actor’s cutting remarks playing in hilarious counterpoint to Gosling’s repertory of tight-lipped smirks and squints. Those two performances help you forget how the story relies on the kind of preposterous coincidence that would derail a narrative train pulled by less powerful thespian locomotives. David Strathairn is effective as the District Attorney who provides Willy with a conscience, but the beautiful Rosamund Pike, playing a potential colleague who comes on like Mata Hari, is a non-starter — instead of sex, you really just want Hopkins back on screen. B
This review originally appeared in the White Plains Times.