Richard Gere sashays through Arbitrage in a much subdued performance when one compares it to his acting in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Still his swagger is there. And certainly his sexuality. But a mature, more reserved, yet, enfin, handsome actor has emerged since the days Richard and I worked together in Goodbar. Age embraces him. His moves are languid. His eyes blink and twitch at all the right moments and capsulate an energy moving throughout his body that finally bursts into his mind.
When we were on the set of Goodbar in '77, he took me to lunch. We talked like kids in a playground because we hadn't seen each other since the early '70s and Wyn Handman's acting class above a Chinese laundry in Manhattan. Wyn was the Director of The American Place Theatre. In that class Richard was wiry in his performances and reminiscent of James Dean. He caught a lot of flack for that, yet a bit of Jimmy Dean's mannerisms are still apparent in Goodbar. These mannerisms eased out of his body in American Gigolo. In Arbitrage his movements have become fluid and cerebral.
There is a glimpse of the old Richard when he discovers that his mistress is dead. He has accidentally murdered her after falling asleep at the wheel. His reaction is on the money and hyperkinetic like the ole Richard of yore.
Then there was Richard's performance on Broadway in Bent when his body was so much a part of his acting, but in Arbitrage, save for the car crash, all of that frenzy of the past has become fluid restrained movement with a kind of grace and elegance.
Gere takes his moments and makes mountains out of some and quick flashes of others, but one thing is certain he is the center of your attention. His white hair gives him an elder statesman quality and air. One wonders why we don't see more of him at the movies. He said on a talk show that he was 63 and was surprised to be working at this age while the women in the audience swooned and simply could not get enough of him. Let's hope we don't have to wait another long extended pause for his next film. Oscar talk accompanies his performance, but talk is talk. See for yourself. Catch his performance that is electrifying in Arbitrage. He makes going to the movies a real treat and a reason to venture out into a dark movie theatre and risk being assaulted by mediocrity or entertained by the multitalented Richard Gere.
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