Robert Miller is a successful financial businessman with a loving wife and a smart daughter ready to take over the family business. Professional secrets involving illegal fraudulent activities start coming out at the same time that Robert's personal secrets take a turn for the worse and threaten to derail everything he has achieved. Written by
When Ellen is adjusting Robert's tie before the business dinner, the position of the knot in his tie changes repeatedly between shots. See more »
But you took a huge bet on the housing crisis in the middle of the biggest boom in housing anybody has ever seen. Why?
I'm a child of the '50s. My father welded steel for the Navy, and my mother worked at the V.A. They lived through the Depression, Pearl Harbor, and the bomb. They didn't think that bad things might happen. They knew that bad things would happen.
Is that what's happening now?
When I was a kid, my favorite teacher was Mr. James. Mr. James said world events all ...
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Van Cleef & Arpels, the French jewelry, watch, and perfume company is incorrectly shown as "Van Cleef & Aprels" in the credits roll. See more »
Gere Maximizes His Coolish Screen Persona in a Machiavellian Character-Driven Thriller
It seems quite a letdown that Richard Gere's impressive performance in this handsomely mounted 2012 thriller has been relegated to On Demand, but the same fate befell 2011's "Margin Call", another effectively Machiavellian Wall Street-set thriller, probably because the mechanics of cutting big financial deals just doesn't feel all that cinematic despite being terrific showcases for able actors. With his trademark élan in check, he plays Robert Miller, a billionaire Wall Street investment executive whose silken imperturbable manner can charm and kill at the same time. Miller's company is in the middle of a federal audit as he tries to sell it. The problem is that he has illegally borrowed more than $400 million, well beyond the true value of the company. The lender threatens to take his money back, but Miller stops at nothing to keep the fraud under wraps, his family and the IRS in the dark, and his firm functioning more or less as usual.
Miller is simply unflappable no matter what the circumstance is, whether it's negotiating an unethical high financial deal, attending his 60th- birthday party, or spending a few tempestuous hours with his mistress, a French art gallery owner whose neediness makes Miller vulnerable to a moment of truth he cannot control. An unexpected event literally leaves blood on his hands, and a web of deception drops him further into an abyss. Instead of seeking absolution, Miller moves from chilly manipulation to unrepentant criminality. The evolution feels seamless because Miller never sees anything wrong with what he does, and first- time director Nicholas Jarecki does quite a capable job of maintaining the pace and momentum of an internally driven thriller that allows the main character to unravel in a series of dialogue-heavy scenes courtesy of Jarecki's insightful screenplay, an excellent sophomore effort (his first was co-writing 2008's "The Informers" with Bret Easton Ellis).
Although he was a last-minute replacement for Al Pacino (who would have brought an earthier dimension to the role), Gere is smartly cast here because his screen persona has often provided a glacial veneer over a seething core of anger and resentment. Playing Miller allows him to do just that in a most arresting manner that makes him both morally repellent but oddly sympathetic. As the detective intent on getting Miller convicted, Tim Roth is quite effective down to the Columbo-like inquisitiveness and Jersey Shore accent. Nate Parker brings unexpected depth as the moral center of the story, a Harlem kid whom Miller previously helped out of a jam but who now faces much bigger consequences returning the favor. Indie breakout Brit Marling ("Another Earth") affectingly plays Miller's sharply analytical daughter, the chief accountant of his firm who slowly realizes her father's true nature. Susan Sarandon has relatively few scenes as Miller's insulated wife Ellen, but her steely intelligence comes through in the climax. It's worth seeking out.
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