Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bernie Gere

Arbitrage     Final Cut Score: 89%


Richard Gere is back. To those of you claiming he never left, I pose this question: Care to name his last project? To spare you a visit to IMDB, it was The Double, which raked a whopping $137K during its miniscule run last fall. That paltry sum will be shattered opening day for his latest effort, Arbitrage, a film that features Gere at the apex of his game.

Gere is Bernie Madoff Robert Miller, a hedge fund guru in the midst of selling his firm for an ungodly sum of cash. But complications arise with the internal discovery - by his own daughter (Brit Marling) - that Miller has been cooking the books for years. His charmed life is not without a fair share of cracks. Without spoiling the proceedings, another sizable issue springs up that makes Miller's fraudulent financial activities look slightly less complicated in comparison.

Showdowns between Gere and Tim Roth - crushing it as a NYC police detective - are stellar — gamesmanship indeed. Susan Sarandon is reliably solid as Gere's laissez-faire wife who proves to have limits to how far she'll be pushed.

Sharing a similar feel to a slew of '90s thrillers starring Michael Douglas (or Gere), director Nicholas Jarecki's feature debut doesn't aspire to be overly heady. Primetime dramas share similar plot points, but Gere elevates the proceedings with a positively commanding performance - his finest in ages. Gere's last-ditch sales pitch to the prospective buyer of his company makes his Pretty Woman character look like a pansy. Scott Boras would get thumped in a negotiation with Gere.

Arbitrage is an easily consumed, impressively polished endeavor that brings Gere back where he belongs - the spotlight. And quite possibly, landing the now 63-year-old his first Oscar nomination.