The man in question, Ted Crawford, is played by Anthony Hopkins in full "creepy intelligent guy" mode; something that Hopkins does very well and a role in which he doesn't disappoint. Crawford is no Hannibal Lecter, but Hopkins provides the balance of smarts and skin-crawling pleasingly. Prosecuting Crawford is hotshot lawyer Willy Beachum, played by Ryan Gosling. Gosling's performance is enjoyably strong, providing a great counterpoint to Hopkins. The film is by far the strongest when these two share the screen together, with some electric exchanges and first rate dialogue between them.
The film is less successful when not focused on the relationship between Beachum and Crawford. Beachum's romantic involvement with Nikki Gardner (Rosamund Pike), his potential future boss as Beachum hopes to move to a high-flying corporate law firm, feels flimsy and underdeveloped; police detective Robert Nunally (Billy Burke) also feels unevenly written and never fleshed out in a meaningful way.
The plot provides some tense scenes, and director Gregory Hoblit manages to produce some genuine suspense, particularly early on the film and in the scenes between Hopkins and Gosling. But the conclusion is ultimately underwhelming and too often proceedings are allowed to unfold in a very ordinary way. Essentially, Fracture never truly does anything remarkable, and without the two strong leading men, this would be forgettable. As it is, the film provides agreeable entertainment but in a consistently average way.