Richard Gere is an actor I have always been fond of. He has a distinct style and is not really an actor who disappears into roles, but he does have a charisma and an ability to make a character relatable that has made him an A list star. His beginnings were controversial roles but at first he was really regarded as a heartthrob actor. Such films as Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Days of Heaven, American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman and Breathless secured his place in Hollywood, but it wasn’t until 1990 and Pretty Woman that he became a real power player. He stays busy with about a film a year nowadays, his latest being the thriller Arbitrage.
Robert Miller (Gere) is a successful financial businessman with everything he could ever want in life including a beautiful wife (Susan Sarandon), a smart daughter (Brit Marling) poised to take over the business, and a mistress on the side (Laetitia Casta). Miller is on the verge of a very big deal to sell his business despite the fact that he has committed fraud to cover up some bad deals. As the completion of the deal draws closer, Miller is in a car accident that takes the life of his mistress. Denying any involvement in the accident, the police, his business partners and his family all close in on Miller’s secrets at the same time prompting him to take drastic measures to protect the ones he loves.
After Gere’s last film, The Double, disappointed me, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Arbitrage, especially with it skipping theatre runs altogether and going straight to home video. I couldn’t be happier to be wrong. Arbitrage is a tightly written, thoroughly absorbing, fast paced thriller/drama that kept me invested through every minute of its running time. Gere is excellent here and I couldn’t help thinking this could have been a great adult oriented hit in the theatres. It harkens back to the days of Fatal Attraction and other films like it that catered to a grown up audience and still made good box office. There doesn’t seem to be many of them anymore. The entire cast is great here from Gere to Sarandon as the seemingly oblivious (or is she) wife, Brit Marling from Another Earth as the smart as a whip daughter, and Tim Roth as the gruff cop who wants much too badly to send the uber rich Miller to jail. The story is intriguing and is one of those great films where you find yourself talking to the screen saying “Why are you doing that?” Miller’s world is disintegrating and we get to watch every ingredient that contributes to it as it happens. This is a movie you should not miss if you like tense dramas, and especially if you like Gere who turns in one of his best performances in years.
The Blu-ray from VVS is very nice indeed with a natural and crisp presentation. Black levels are deep, skin tones natural and flush, and the city scenes filled with great detail. Overall, a stellar transfer for a surprise of a film. Definitely worth checking out.
Available December 21, 2012 on Blu-ray and DVD.