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When Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) discovers that his beautiful younger wife, Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz), is having an affair, he plans her murder...the perfect murder. Among the cops arriving at the crime scene is hostage negotiator Detective Rob Nunally (Billy Burke), the only officer permitted entry to the house.
Surprisingly Crawford readily admits to shooting his wife, but Nunally is too stunned to play close attention when he recognizes his lover, whose true identity he never knew, lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Although Jennifer was shot at point blank range, Nunally realizes she isn't dead. Crawford is immediately arrested and arraigned after confessing -- a seemingly slam-dunk case for hot shot assistant district attorney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), who has one foot out the door of the District Attorney's (David Strathairn) office on his way to a lucrative job in high-stakes coporate law.
But nothing is as simple as it seems, including this case. Will the lure of power and a love affair with a sexy, ambitious attorney (Rosamund Pike) at his new firm overpower Willy's fierce drive to win, or worse, quash his code of ethics? In a tense dual of intellect and strategy, Crawford and Willy both learn that a "fracture" can be found in every ostensibly perfect facade.