Richard Gere has made a career of playing the slickest of the slick. If he’s the suave ladies man, romantic lead or scrupulous baddie he can deliver. Gere’s also had lots of luck with thrillers in the past. “Primal Fear”, “Unfaithful” and “Final Analysis” are good examples. The thing was in those thrillers Gere was the patsy. This time he’s the mastermind.
Gere stars as billionaire hedge fund magnate Richard Miller. On the surface he’s the greatest thing to hit Wall Street since the fifty dollar bill. But underneath, Miller is falling to pieces. His empire is dying after a sour copper mine investment and if he doesn’t liquidate the company before his investors catch on, he’s dead.
What is also going on in Miller’s head? Well he also just walked away from a auto accident where his mistress (Laetitia Casta) was killed. His grown daughter (Brit Marling) is investigating the company financials. And a cop with a chip on his shoulder (Tim Roth) is looking to take Miller down.
All of this stress and the way Gere is our tour guide is quite an interesting ride. It is like what happened with ENRON and no one really knew what was going on til it was too late. We like seeing the filthy rich squirm. Heck, Michael Douglas won an Oscar for playing just that.
In some ways you could say that Richard Miller is Gere’s Gordon Gecko except Miller’s downfall seems like such a rookie mistake. And because it seems so simple on paper makes Miller feel more human. Gere’s suave is also interesting to watch in this film. You can see something else boiling below him. He seems like the guy who has all the answers except he has none.
Aside from Gere, you have interesting performances from Brit Marling and Susan Sarandon as Miller’s neglected family behind the scenes. There is one scene between Gere and Sarandon where Sarandon is allowed to go for the jugular and she doesn’t hold back.
The most wasted person in the film is Tim Roth. He just glides through and seems bored silly.
This is quite a solid thriller and it is not often that you get to see Gere squirm this much on screen and that is a treat unto itself.
4 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer