Ted Crawford (played by Anthony Hopkins) is a highly intelligent engineer who discovers his wife is having an affair with policeman Rob Nunally (by Billy Burke), so he shoots her. At the scene, by coincidence Nunally is the investigating officer and he believes the police have an open and shut case as Ted has confessed to the crime, so they take him into custody to await routine sentencing. We meet the ambitious and arrogant young prosecutor Willy Beachum, (by Ryan Gosling) who is about to leave the DA’s office for a high flying job in private practice. His boss, the DA (by David Strathairn) is not impressed at his departure and shows it. As a final gesture, WIlly agrees to handle Crawford’s straightforward case, to wrap up his public career with a success. At first, Willy is fascinated by the curious and seemingly naive Crawford, who conducts his own defence, but he soon surprises Willy and becomes a formidable opponent. Willy also meets and is attracted to his new boss, Nikki Gardner (by Rosamund Pike) which creates some tension during Willy’s resolution of the case and his introduction to the new firm. As the story unfolds, Crawford and Beachum lock wits at every opportunity with each trying to stay one step ahead of the other, with fascinating results.
This is a good courtroom and crime thriller. Anthony Hopkins is wickedly mind-messing in this role and Ryan Gosling is exactly the right person to portray the arrogant Willy Beachum. Both deliver great performances. Rosamund Pike’s character is a bit redundant as the love interest for Willy. David Strathairn is a good DA too, so all in all this is a good thriller.