Tightly-structured thriller set in finance world starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon
Set in the world of high-flying money-makers, mergers and acquisitions, this tightly-structured thriller, whose title refers to a strategic financial process, begins with a series of jargon-filled conversations that will leave all but the most business-savvy viewers unsure of what is actually being discussed. But this is all neat misdirection from writer/director Nicholas Jarecki as he builds up to a very effective gear-shift in the story, which suddenly and irrevocably raises the stakes for all his characters.
Central to these is Robert Miller (Richard Gere), a successful businessman on the verge of completing the sale of his hedge-fund company. As he celebrates his 60th birthday surrounded by family, including his loving wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and heir apparent Brooke (Brit Marling), he appears content and untouchable. So of course, things are not quite what they seem; Miller is concealing a $400 million hole in his funds as well as an affair with a beautiful art-dealer (Laetitia Casta).
Jarecki takes his time introducing the key ingredients of his story, then keeps them simmering in a slowly intensifying pressure-cooker plot. And while there are no hugely original elements here, Jarecki handles each story strand with skill, bringing one after another bubbling to the surface, and building to a pointedly effective conclusion.
Money and power is an ever-present theme, and there is a touch of King Lear to Gere’s aging patriarch as he petulantly declares to Marling, 'Everybody works for me!', even as the situation spirals out of his control. It’s the kind of role that fits Gere perfectly these days, his somewhat blank face gradually hardening to the audience as we become increasingly aware of the moral void under the surface.
Screening at Glasgow Film Festival, GFT, Mon 18 –Tue 19 Feb. On limited release from Fri 1 Mar.