NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Kline who calls it... "a well-acted legal thriller with an interesting twist ending."
Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) is a smart aeronautical structural engineer fascinated with intricate marble drop devices.
His younger wife goes to a hotel and has an affair and lounges around the pool with a virile lover.
Crawford drives over in a high power sports car and slips into the hotel room. We aren't shown what he does in the hotel room.
Crawford drives home and waits for his wife’s return. When she comes in, after a brief calm confrontation, he shoots her in the face!
Then he fires three more shots up at a window. He picks up the spent brass. Throws his shirt in the fire. Washes gun shot residue off his body.
When the police arrive, they send in a hostage negotiator cop. It’s the same guy who was at the hotel having an affair with Crawford's wife.
Crawford holds a gun. The cop has a gun. Crawford will put his gun down if the cop will.
The cop is shocked when he recognizes the victim as his lover. He pummels Crawford as the rest of the cops come in.
Despite being shot in the face, the cheating wife still has a pulse. She’s taken to the hospital. She’s still alive. But brain dead.
We meet Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) as a hot shot public prosecutor with a 97% conviction rate. This is his last week before he takes a higher paying job as defense lawyer.
At the police station, Crawford has signed a confession. He’s charged with attempted murder.
At the arraignment, Crawford announces he wants to represent himself. It looks like an open and shut case.
Beachum figures he will rack up one more win and takes the case.
One problem. Hotel video showed someone in hat and glasses entering the hotel room. But it doesn’t conclusive that it’s Crawford. In any case, if it was him, what did he do in the hotel room?
A bigger problem. Forensics shows the gun recovered at the crime scene hadn’t been fired. Beachum orders detectives to search the house more.
Beachum doesn’t absolutely need the gun to win because he has the confession.
At the beginning of the trial, Crawford puts up little fight. But then, when the cop who was having the affair is testifying, Crawford stands up to object. What’s the objection? Crawford says (in ruder terms) this guy was screwing my wife.
Suddenly the cop leaps across the courtroom and starts pounding Crawford.
In chambers, Crawford says he threatened the confession out of me. The judge throws out the confession.
Beachum has a long Thanksgiving weekend to come up with new evidence.
The D.A. offers to take Beachum off the case. It’s not his fault that the cop blindsided him. And at the new law firm, his immediate supervisor Rosamund Pike, who he slept with after a party, urges him to drop the case because he’s got to get up to speed on there or they will drop him.
Something in Beachum makes him stay on.
In one of many taunting scenes, Crawford tells Beachum as a structural engineer, he studies what makes things fracture. (Hence, the title. Fracture.) He knows Beachum’s weakness. He’s a winner.
Beachum orders the cops to search Crawford house again and again. Still no gun.
Late one night, the bad cop says someone in the evidence room owes him a favor and can switch in incriminating bullets. Beachum says forget it.
But the next day, as Beachum is about to go back into court with no new evidence, the cop calls and says his friend switched evidence. Beachum is tempted. He arranges with an office worker to wait outside the courtroom and come in with new found evidence when he calls.
In court, Crawford motions for dismissal. The judge asks if there’s any new evidence. Beachum takes his phone out to call. But in the end, he can’t cheat. He tells the judge there is no new evidence The judge frees Crawford!
As the crowd leaves the court, a gunshot is heard. The bad cop shot himself dead on the stairs.
Crawford is off scot free.
Crawford finds Beachum in the hospital room with his comatose wife, hoping for a sign of life.
Crawford gets a restraining order against Beachum to stay away from the wife. He taunts Beachum with the fact that he controls when her breathing tubes are turned off.
Beachum desperately gets a court order to keep the life support on but he arrives at the hospital room too late. Crawford had her breathing turned off. Now Crawford has committed murder.
Then Beachum figures out what happened.
Beachum confronts Crawford at the house. He knows what Crawford did at the hotel room. While the wife and cop were at the pool, he switched guns and gave the cop his own gun. An identical model.
Then when the cop came to the house, that’s why Crawford insisted on “I’ll put down my gun if you put down yours.”
Beachum further explains double jeopardy doesn’t apply and since Crawford let his wife die, they can now get the bullet out of his skull which is incriminating. When she was alive, it was too dangerous.
The cops are waiting outside to arrest Crawford.
The final scene is Beachum back in court trying Crawford for murder.