snapshot: Irresistible (2006)

Australia / 99 minutes / color / Intandem, FFC Australia, Cascade, Take Partnership, Baker Street, Kennedy Mellor, Film Victoria, Palace Dir & Scr: Ann Turner Pr: David Parker, Tatiana Kennedy Cine: Martin McGrath Cast: Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Emily Blunt, Bud Tingwell, William McInnes, Georgie Parker, Terry Norris, Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik, Lauren Mikkor, Heather Mitchell, Alethea McGrath, Eleanor Caspar, Emerald Tanner.

Sophie Hartley (Sarandon) balances life as a highly acclaimed children’s-book illustrator with being mother to ten-year-old Ruby (Mikkor) and seven-year-old Elly (Hunt-Prokhovnik)—not to mention wife to architect Craig Singleton (Neill).

Her editor, Rina (Mitchell), has put her under a tight deadline for her new book, and it’s to the stress of this and the recent death of her beloved mum—and to lack of sleep—that Sophie initially attributes a few odd little moments around the house: Did she forget to Continue reading

Company You Keep, The (2013)

US / 122 minutes / color (with brief bw in the form of archive and faux-archive footage) / Voltage, Wildwood, Brightlight, Kingsgate, TCYK, Sony Dir: Robert Redford Pr: Nicolas Chartier, Robert Redford, Bill Holderman Scr: Lem Dobbs Story: The Company You Keep (2003) by Neil Gordon Cine: Adriano Goldman Cast: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott, Stephen Root, Jacqueline Evancho, Gabrielle Rose.

Decades ago, during the horrific height of the Vietnam War, the Weathermen, or Weather Underground, were at the cutting edge of domestic protest against it; they were classified by the authorities as terrorists, although later judgement of their activities tends to be kinder. According to the backstory of this movie, one of their crimes was a bank robbery in which a security guard was shot dead; the perpetrators have been on the run ever since.

The movie starts with the arrest by the FBI of one of those perpetrators, Sharon Solarz (Sarandon), now the respected pillar-of-the-community mother of teenage kids; she has in fact been on her way to NYC to give herself up, but the FBI, having caught wind of this through wiretaps, decided to seek kudos by pre-empting her. Her friend from the old radical days, Billy Cusimano (Root), tries to enlist public-spirited lawyer Jim Grant (Redford) for her defense, but he declines, pleading that, recently widowed, he has to focus on rearing his 11-year-old daughter, Isobel “Izzy” (Evancho).

Izzy (Jacqueline Evancho) and her Uncle Daniel (Chris Cooper) confronted by the FBI.

Into the picture stumbles brattish local journalist Ben Shepard (LaBeouf) of the Albany Sun–Times, eager to make a name for himself. He manages to dig out evidence that “Jim Grant” is in fact Nick Sloan, wanted by the FBI as Continue reading

Arbitrage (2012)

US / 107 minutes / color / Roadside Attractions, Green Room, TreeHouse, Parlay, LB, Artina, Alvernia, Lucky Monkey, Lionsgate Dir & Scr: Nicholas Jarecki Pr: Laura Bickford, Kevin Turen, Justin Nappi, Robert Salerno Cine: Yorick Le Saux Cast: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker, Stuart Margolin, Curtiss Cook, Reg E. Cathey.

A borderline noir set in the world of high finance, where high-flyer Robert Miller (Gere) has been cooking the books at Miller Investments to guarantee ‑‑ he hopes ‑‑ the company’s sale to another. When he crashes the car in which he’s driving with artist mistress Julie Côte (Casta), killing her, he makes off, enlisting the help of Jimmy Grant (Parker), son of an old friend, to get him home, where wife Ellen (Sarandon) apparently believes he’s been sleeping beside her all night save for a brief excursion to buy ice cream. But the cops, in the shape of Det. Michael Bryer (Roth), aren’t as stupid as Robert thinks they are, and neither are Ellen nor their daughter Brooke (Marling), Robert’s heir apparent at the company. With all aspects of his life unraveling around him as he descends into the noir abyss, Robert must do whatever it takes to survive.

Gere delivers one of his better performances and is offered strong support from the rest of the cast, notably Parker as the Harlem youth who, though he has some criminal form in his past, proves to have several times the integrity of his supposed social superiors, Det. Bryer included. The movie’s conclusion achieves a small masterpiece of cynicism.


On Arbitrage and Arbitrage