Fracture - spoilers

Sorry, if there is another thread I couldn’t find it.

I really liked this movie, and I really wanted the murderer to win. My question for any lawpeople: is the twist at the end, the way they avoid double jeopardy, realistic? I don’t think there is any way in the world they would get away with that, but then IANAL.


I liked this as well. Rote, but competent. Gosling and Hopkins were superlative, both doing what they do very well. I do wish the female lawyer hadn’t been so young and pretty. The role would have been much better with a stronger and slightly older actress. Rosamund Pike was just so, I dunno, lightweight.

And, perhaps most importantly in a movie like this, the twist worked for me. I was wondering the same thing about whether it was legit, or whether lawyers watching the movie were shaking their heads the same way we shake our heads when someone in a movie uses a computer.


Well, there should be a little tension with how sympathetic the audience is to the bad guy, but I can’t imagine a different ending being more satisfying. I’m not much into movie tropes, but the breaking-down of the protagonist seen in quite a few film noir movies was done quite effectively here, and it’s classic to have him get his shit together in the end to figure it out.

I also don’t think the lawyer’s reasoning to get the murder conviction was too far off. Law is to the letter for a reason; and the people involved sure didn’t feel sympathetic to Sir Hopkins’ character.

I giggle every time I think of the judge referring to him as 007.

Also, the only thing I didn’t like about the movie (and I didn’t expect to like it at all), was the female boss-love interest thing. It was stupid, stupid, stupid. Well, that, and I picked up on the whole gun switch thing at the beginning of the movie and was dreading its “revelation”. Other than those two things, I thought it was really good. I was pleasantly surprised.

I really liked it until I thought why didn’t they just run the serial number on Hopkins’ gun and find out it’s registered to the cop? Then I thought it was dumb.

I just saw this movie on a plane and thought it was o.k., but I have to give Gosling credit for a very realistic performance as a lawyer. It’s the first time in recent film memory where someone playing a lawyer actually seemed like he could competently play that role, which was so refreshing after putting up with the likes of Richard Gere/Tom Cruise as criminal lawyers.

Tom’s wrong on female lawyer being miscast as well - I also thought she was very believable and appropriate in that role. It would be very Hollywood-y to grey hair up someone in that role.

The twist did seem legally artificial to me, and I’m skeptical it would work, but I’m not familiar with U.S. criminal law - in Canada, the government would never have been prohibited from appealing the initial ruling and retrying the defendent anyway.

You misunderstood the twist – he took the cop’s gun from the hotel, used it to shoot, then replaced the gun again, when the cop went to check out the body. So it was the cop’s gun that was fired, and his gun was never fired (as confirmed in the movie) and the police never had any gun other than the one registered to Hopkins.

Yeah, Stefan’s right about the gun thing. The key to understanding it doesn’t come until you realize Hopkins had switched guns by visiting the scene of his wife’s adultery earlier in the day. I think the audience knows the gun switching happened, but you don’t understand how it fits into the scheme of things until Gosling figures it out when he confuses cell phones with Cliff Curtis.

As for Rosamund Pike being older or not, my point was more that she wasn’t much of an actress next to Gosling. I would have preferred someone with more weight. Laura Linney, or Virginia Madsen or someone along those lines. Frankly, a Joan Allen older woman would have added a different dynamic, so I don’t mean to second guess the writer. But Rosamund Pike just seemed like an actress to me.


Fair enough. I also agree with Adam that the whole love story angle was both unnecessary and stupid.

I’m not giving this movie thumbs up though - I agree with your assessment, “rote, but competent”, but that’s not a pass for me.

I understood that at the time, but then got totally mixed up. Can’t you look at the shell casings and tell which gun fired them, though?

The way they do ballistics matches on guns is by firing them and collecting the bullets, then comparing the marks on the bullets.

You have to have a gun to compare them against. Since the cop didn’t fire any shots, they wouldn’t have compared the bullets to his gun.

I honestly saw the gun twist coming from a mile away in the Sherlock Holmes when-you-rule-everything-out-what-you-have-left-is-the-answer. They kept driving home that he went to the cops room and that the gun was never fired. What I can’t remember, was there a plausible explanation of how Hopkins got the gun back to the cop?

I thought that’s what he was doing when they caught him sneaking around on camera.

When the cop arrives to talk to him right after the shooting, Hopkins talks him into putting his gun down. After this, the cop sees her body and runs to her side in the other room, leaving Hopkins to do whatever the hell he wanted. This is where I picked up on it.

Right, thanks for reminding me. That also seemed a little weird, I know heat of the moment and you lover is dead, but I wasn’t sure about the cop just abandoning his gun. That being said, I thought the acting was quite good in this film and the story generally worked well.

You guys are a bunch of dorks! The gun twist was the whole point. The audience is clued in pretty early to Hopkins switching guns with the cop, but we’re not sure why or what his scheme is. The reveal is that he isn’t switching, he’s switching back!



I just saw this on DVD. It’s definitely a cut above other movies of the genre, but I still didn’t like it. The love-interest plot seemed tacked-on and also really unbelievable. Every time it moved forward, I was like, “Wait, he’s sleeping with her? Wait, she’s taking him to Thanksgiving dinner?”

The gun-switching thing was pretty clever, but the movie suffers from the same problem that many big-con movies suffer from: the con is way too complicated and unpredictable, and there’s no way any reasonable con man would run it. I mean, what if some OTHER hostage negotiator happens to show up at your house? What if the right guy shows up, but refuses to put his gun down? What if he knows your wife’s name, and therefore knows what he’s getting into? Or what if he’s just cool as a cucumber? Or arrests you right off the bat? There are a zillion unpredictable things that have to go exactly right for this to work. Same with the DA – how does Hopkins know he’s going to get someone who will rush through the case and not investigate it? How does he know the cop won’t confess his relationship to the DA? It’s all much too complicated and improbable. If any of a million things goes wrong, you end up a convicted murderer for sure. Hopkins is supposed to be a criminal mastermind, and it’d be a lot surer (although less entertaining) to just set up an “accident” to kill his wife, or simply lure her away, kill her, and dispose of the body such that nobody will find it.

On top of that, I thought the legal stuff didn’t really work. No judge is going to grant a motion of acquittal based on what happened in the movie. The DA still has a decent circumstantial case: somebody shot her at 10:45 PM (or whenever), and the only person in the house with her is Hopkins. And there’s a lot of evidence going to his consciousness of guilt: presumably they recovered the remains of his burned clothes from the fireplace, he isn’t the one who called 911, he didn’t offer any alternative explanation as to what happened, he wasn’t distraught when the police arrived or after he was arrested – all of that is stuff that other officers (not just the tainted lover) could testify to. He’s really the only one with motive, he had the means, and he’s the only one with opportunity to have committed the crime.

I’m not sure the double jeopardy twist works either, although I haven’t done any research on it. I think it’s true that you can try someone for attempted murder and then re-try them for murder if the victim later dies. That would usually happen in the double-conviction scenario: you try Joe Defendant for attempt, get a conviction, the victim dies, you then charge him with murder. I am pretty sure that the defendant can’t claim once-in-jeopardy in that scenario. Although the DA is usually prohibited from bringing two separate prosecutions on the same set of facts (a so-called “multiplicitous prosecution”), I think there’s an exception if the second one legally could not have been brought at the time of the first one.

But there are some other legal problems with it, I think. The first is causation. She didn’t die because he shot her, she died because she was removed from life-support. I’m not sure how that works, legally. Obviously she wouldn’t have been on life-support to begin with if he hadn’t shot her, but there may be a good legal argument that if I shoot you intending to kill, but you are saved and made stable by medical science, at most I can be charged with attempted murder. Imagine, for example, that he shot her and she was conscious but paralyzed. Two months later she commits suicide. Is he guilty of murder? I’m pretty sure the answer is “No,” even though she wouldn’t have committed suicide if not for his shooting her. It would be different, I think, if she had died on her own. But the fact that someone (even though it’s Hopkins) makes a separate, conscious decision to kill her I think screws up a murder prosecution.

I also think there’s another legal problem, which is that once two people litigate some fact in a proceeding, the facts as found in that proceeding are binding on those two people essentially forever. So if the DA and the defendant litigate whether he fired the gun at his wife, and the answer is “No,” the DA can’t later allege, under the same burden of proof, that he fired the gun at his wife. That’s obviously not a problem in the double-conviction scenario, because in that scenario the rulings all went in the DA’s favor, so the only extra allegation is that the victim died on date so-and-so, which hasn’t previously been litigated. But after an initial acquittal, I’m not sure how you get around that. In the murder prosecution, you have to allege that Hopkins shot his wife, and he’s just going to say that a court has already ruled that there’s a reasonable doubt as to that.

I liked it for Gosling and Hopkins. I have missed Gosling in other films and thought he was great. What was the accent he was doing? Some southern-y something or other. I thought it was pretty natural and then saw he is Canadian.

Rywill’s post would have rendered the movie unwatchable. :P Glad I avoided the urge to check Qt3 before watching.

My problem was with the twist. Maybe I am overlooking something, but if Hopkins’ character was so brilliant and saw every single flaw in things he examined, how did he not see that she was not dead once the case was acquitted, so that trial was attempted murder and then she died after. Boom, two separate charges.

Yeah, the love interest thing was pointless and tacked on. Maybe it was more fleshed out in a less edited version where more of his connection with the big corporate firm was featured. She was, of course, very hot so, she gets a pass from me.