Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Rome with Love and Arbitrage

I ended my hiatus of a few months and went to a theatre to watch To Rome With Love last week.  A Woody Allen movie is a guarantee of entertainment and some mental stimulation which the recent crop of 'disaster' or 'superhero' flicks can not provide.

To Rome with Love was a funny film, filled with absurd situations that can happen only in a Woody Allen film.  I loved it.  I loved the characters, the story, the acting.  Judy Davis looked super-hot despite her years.  It is nice to see a hollywood actress not afraid of showing her wrinkles.  Here is Richard Brody's review of the movie printed in The New Yorker.

I watched the trailer of a new film Arbitrage directed by Nicholas Jarecki starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon that looked pretty good during the screening of To Rome With Love.  This friday when I was looking at the new movie listings in the paper, I saw that this movie was playing in PVR.

I was caught between wanting to see Barfi and this movie, Arbitrage.  Arbitrage won because I knew I could not just walk to the box office window and get current show bookings for Barfi.  So I opted to watch Arbitrage first, and book my ticket for Barfi for Sunday.

A funny thing happened at the ticket window.  A lady had sent her mother to book a couple of tickets for Arbitrage.  The girl manning the window misheard the woman and booked two tickets for Raaz.  The miffed younger woman yelled at the box-office girl "Arbitraajz" not "Raaz", "English Movie".  I felt sorry for the ticket window girl.  These people are paid a pittance for sitting all day at the counters, dealing with a jostling crowd.  On top of that it is hard for a desi girl to understand poncy pronunciations, so it is better to be clear and simple while talking to people.  And keep your accents and airs limited to your own ilk.

The movie stars Richard Gere as a man of suspect character, who is on the verge of selling his business.  Robert Miller (Gere) has been cooking the books to facilitate the sale.  He is also having an affair with an artist on the side.  He has apparently promised the girl that he would soon leave his wife for her. Beset with troubles over the delays in the sale of his company which is costing him a great deal of stress and financial loss, he decides to run away with his mistress.  His eyes close for a second when he is at the wheel and the car crashes.  The girl dies and Miller leaves the car just before it blows up.

Miller is tempted to distance himself from this accident and return to his old life, to his wife and children, his business interests.  He calls a young man Jimmy Grant (Nat Parker) who is indebted to him, to come and pick him up.  He has left the site clear of any evidence of his presence, or so he thinks.

The police detective (Tim Roth) is soon on his trail, and Miller finds himself getting more and more stuck in the web of his lies.  Jimmy is picked up by the detective and pressured to give evidence against Miller. Miller is again torn between letting Jimmy get jailed for obstructing evidence and seeing himself in the dock for a crime. His lawyer advises him to make a clean breast of it to stop implicating innocent people.

Again, like To Rome With Love, Arbitrage is a movie different from the usual (recent) hollywood offerings of superhero or disaster flicks.  It shows us how a business magnate becomes corrupt to stay ahead of his game, in life and in business.  It tries to get inside his head and gives us an intimate look at the inner workings of his mind.

Gere performs admirably, Susan Sarandon as his wife performs even better! She has a role that is short but meaty.  She plays a woman who does not hesitate to kick her man in the balls, just when he is at his most vulnerable.

It is a very good film worth watching.


  1. Both sound good!
    I wanted to watch To Rome With Love, but couldn't! I loved Allen's Matchpoint!
    I like both Gere and Sarandon, so Armitrage sounds promising!
    Poor girl at the ticket counter!

  2. They are both worth watching.

    I had a great time.

    Felt so bad for the ticket window girl. Hate people who are impolite to others.

  3. Hehe... the poncy pronunciation. I can just hear that woman pronouncing Arbitrajz.

    These codes for proving you aren't a Robot are such a strain on ones eyes!

  4. i will be back after i see the movie - hang on ;)