‘Fracture’ starring multi-award winning British actor, Anthony Hopkins, is a clever, modern thriller directed by Gregory Hoblit, that keeps you on the edge of your seat, as the plot unfolds and the two main characters embark on what is to be a battle of wits which is not even halted by the final twist at the end.
In ‘Fracture‘ Anthony Hopkins plays Ted Crawford, a wealthy, polished L.A. business man and engineer, set in L.A. where Crawford lives in a sleek, interior designed, ranch-style house with all the usual trappings of wealth, including a six foot high rolling ball sculpture – the ultimate executive toy with which Crawford is seen to obsess with throughout the film – setting the glass marbles in motion, slowly rolling from the top of the machine and gathering momentum, delighting in their twisting journey from the top to the final stop at the bottom. Crawford built this precision machine which serves as symbolic reminder of his precise, meticulous charcter. Crawford’s beautiful, younger wife (Embeth Davidtz) is having an affair with police detective Lt. Rob Nunally (Billy Burke) and Crawford shoots her through the head in cold blood in their home, then calmly and cunningly entraps her lover, who is called to the perfectly engineered scene of the crime.
Co-starring in ‘Fracture‘ is Ryan Gosling, as Willy Beacham, the upwardly mobile attorney who is appointed to prosecute the case – Willy has a 97% success rate and takes this case, believing it to be ‘open and shut’ with a signed confession from Crawford, until that is, Crawford pleads ‘not guilty’ and exercises his right to defend himself and the murder weapon mysteriously has disappeared. Ambitious Willy Beacham has applied and been accepted to join a prestigious upstate law firm and wants no part in this case initially – he likes to win – everyone has a ‘weak spot’. Rosamund Pike plays the glamorous Nikki Gardner, Willy’s new boss and love interest.
Crawford begins to toy with Willy, much in the same way as Anthony Hopkins did as Hannibal Lecter with Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in ‘Silence of the Lambs’ searching for a chink in Willy’s armour. Meanwhile Willy is becoming more and more engrossed in finding the answer to this conundrum of the missing gun and is frustrated that he is beginning to lose the case. The pleasure of this film is watching Hopkins perform his teasing art, keeping the element of suspense alive as he watches his opponent squirm, as his case is slowly eroded. Willy is determined to solve this one, as this is all that stands between him and his future career, acting rather like a younger, more sophisticated Columbo as he rakes over every minutiae of the case. A brilliant performance by both Hopkins and Gosling, raising some laughs at points, particularly in the courtroom scenes where Hopkins emerges triumphant as a litigator in person, unnerving the slick prosecutor Willy and perplexing Judge Robinson, played by Fiona Shaw, with his newfound expert legal knowledge.
The film’s success revolves around the depth of the two characters, rather than the perfect murder and the double jeopardy element.
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Read about Rolling Ball Sculpture in ‘Fracture’, The Anthony Hopkins Movie
Rolling Ball Sculptures, both tabletop and 6ft high play a part in the Anthony Hopkins movie ‘Fracture’ 2007, these elaborate rolling ball machines act as dramatic metaphors for the character of Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) and the story, symbolic of the numerous complicated and crafty plot twists to appear in this skillful up-to-date tension thriller.
Anthony Hopkins plays Ted Crawford in the movie ‘Fracture’, a well off L.A. aeronautical engineer, a careful, meticulous man who builds these rolling ball sculptures for amusement. In the lounge of his polished designer mansion is one such rolling ball sculpture – known also as kinetic art (sculptures that have motion), approx 6ft high by 6ft wide with smooth metallic tracks and carved wooden wheels, where little glass marbles skitter and roll in an elaborately choreographed dance – a beautiful piece of precision machinery and dramatic art.
The machines are also referred to as ‘Rubes’, firstly depicted by the celebrated cartoonist and engineer Rube Goldberg, ‘complicated machines that complete easy functions in very, convoluted ways’. It is not easy for a critic to describe these works of art – they are fanciful, not only useful but very graphic with all the mechanisms on display.
The writer of the ‘Fracture’ movie came upon the idea of using a rolling ball machine in the movie whilst playing with his son who likes marble mazes. The marbles roll through a jumble of baffling tracks only to come out in unpredicted places.
The movie writer seconded Mark Bischof, a Dutch artist, to advise and supervise the special effects group who created the rolling ball sculptures for ‘Fracture’. Bischof had been working on kinetic art for over 10 years and he fashions the sculptures to show the slow discharge of energy of a guided ball along metal tracks. He uses track switching mechanisms, loops, spirals, drop-trough and other devices to exhibit a range of factors of this power – the sculptures are captivating.
The writer Gers, said “It’s always best when you can find an external sign to show the inner person (talking of Ted Crawford, Anthony Hopkins) but when I wrote the paragraph, I never really imagined the complex machine they would have to build. When I saw it on stage, I kept apologizing to the guys who had to build it!”
Quite a few configurations of Bischoff’s creations were constructed on set. Anderson, the special effects director and his team were thrilled and excited to step outside the usual realm of their duties of pyrotechnics, explosives and mechanical effects to develop the 8-foot sculpture along with a same-size “stunt double” type. Together they designed the kinetic brass sculpture and its wooden base to echo the dynamic structure of Crawford’s (Anthony Hopkins) exclusive house.
The large sculpture measures 8 feet high x 8 feet wide x 2 feet deep and uses two 12-volt electrical motors operated via remote control, weighing about 250 pounds. The manual desktop type is about 14 inches x 32 inches x 12 inches wide.