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September 24, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-24

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6A - Monday, September 24, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Don't judge 'Dredd' by
uninspired original

"No, I'm not Julia Roberts."V
Gere delivers deceit

Plot twists in
'Arbitrage' keep
viewers engaged
Daily Arts Writer
In the aftermath of the
financial crisis, Hollywood
has produced a string of Wall
thrillers that
document the
systemic melt- Arbitrage
down and the
narcissism of At the State
the bankers
who caused Lionsgate
it. As another
name on a fairly accomplished
list, "Arbitrage" had a lot to do to
distinguish itself. But it manages
to justify its existence with rela-
tive finesse and wit. This film is
a financial-thriller-meets-mur-
der-mystery that captivates its
audience, even if it doesn't quite
meet the full potential of either
mystery or thriller.
To picture Richard Gere ("The
Double") playing a leading busi-
ness tycoon while not romancing
Julia Roberts is a little strange
at first. But it's refreshing to see
him in something other than a
romantic comedy. Gere plays
Robert Miller, a hedge fund
magnate whose thriving compa-

ny is on the verge of going broke
after a bad investment in copper
- the profits from his business
can't make it to America. The
details of this 'arbitrage' are too
economically complex for this
writer to elaborate, but luckily
one doesn't need to be an eco-
nomics major to enjoy the film.
Miller decides to replace the
lost money with his friend's - but
only long enough to sell his com-
pany to a hesitant competitor. But
he hasn't seen the worst of it yet.
Miller unexpectedly gets into
an accident, killing the woman
he's having an affair with, Julie
(Laetitia Casta, "War of the But-
tons"). He can't call the cops for
fear of exposing his affair and
ending the pending sale of his
company. Instead, he has to con-
struct a string of lies to make sure
he's not associated with the acci-
dent, making Julie's death seem
like a homicide instead of invol-
untary manslaughter.
What follows is a smart, quick
thriller about a man who's try-
ing to get himself and his fam-
ily out of both financial and
criminal crisis. The lies he has
to construct are complex and
unpredictable, and one has to
credit first-time director and
writer Nicholas Jarecki for his
bold script and enticing filming.
The fact that this movie keeps
the audience guessing is cause
alone for it to be commended.

And then there's the film's
almost over-qualified cast.
Susan Sarandon ("Robot and
Frank") as Robert's wife Ellen
is too good for her part, but her
talent is crucial to making this
film more than just a financial
thriller. Her fear and frustration
at Robert's lies make this movie
more endearing than its purely
money-minded counterparts.
Tim Roth ("The Incred-
ible Hulk") as Detective Bryer
is equally charming in his role.
And Gere is, well, Gere, but
better. Jarecki endows his lead
with a character simultaneously
flawed, complex and powerful -
and Gere delivers.
The only problem with this
film is that it doesn't live up to
everything it promises. It's not
fast-paced enough to be a thriller,
it's not as unexpected or twist-
ridden as a mystery and, thank-
fully, it's not dry enough to be a
documentary. And that leaves it
on the cusp of everything, but not
quite the master of any one thing.
But that's far from saying that
it's not entertaining or interest-
ing. "Arbitrage" has a plot that
will keep you guessing, and a
cast that delivers some pow-
erhouse performances. And of
course, there's the charm of
watching Gere's dimpled face
play a part worthy of his talents
in a film that's neither a romance
nor a comedy.

Daily Arts Writer
to. Its namesake, "Judge Dredd,"
is an abomination best known
for blessing
Sylvester Stal-
lone ("Yo Adri-
an!") with yet Dredd 3D
another Golden
Raspberry At Quality 16
nomination for and Rave
Worst Actor. Lionsgate
movies is often
a fruitless attempt - the prod-
uct usually unsatisfying. Now,
remaking a film that already
sucks - well, that's ballsy. But
not this time. This time, pure guts
(literally) have paid off: "Dredd"
is bloody, funny and ferocious.
In a world laid to waste by
Mega-City One, a vast metropolis
of 800 million inhabitants, where
over 17,000 crimes are reported
daily.To keep a relative amount
of order in the city, the police
department's elite units, Judges,
are proclaimed judge, jury and
executioner. Its most reputed
operative, Judge Dredd (Karl
Urban, "Star Trek") and a recruit
named Cassandra Anderson
(Olivia Thirlby, "Being Flynn")
investigate a triple homicide in a
200-story slum tower block. But
things take a turn for the worst
and their assignment explodes
into an all-out war against a drug
clan led by a fearsome kingpin
named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey,
"Game of Thrones").
There's nothing novel about
the story. You could call it "Blade
Runner" meets "The Raid:
Redemption." Yet "Dredd" is
exhilarating. The action is snappy
and brutal. Tracheas get crushed,
people get skinned, there are hal-
lucinogenic drugs, brain matter,
images of violent sex - on a scale
of one to ten on the ultra-violence
meter, "Dredd" gets a Quentin
Tarantino. This remake is unusu-
ally unapologetic.
And in that, it's'glorious. Final-
ly, here's a film that knows how to
do shoot-em-ups. Director Pete
Travis ("Vantage Point") rarely

a stella
tic, tur
is scar
real st
takes n
at once
her cho
Has he
tute ca
her na
to say
wears a
isn't a
ing fun
of absu
a ridic


"I hose no idea what I'm daing."

a scene: Each is done with confuse it for sloppy writing, but
r soundtrack, sharp, stim- it's really just irony.
visuals and cinematog- Aside from the main storyline
all supplemented by solid and characters, first-time writer
mances. Carlos Ezquerra displays a real
knack for using peripheral char-
acters. Every once in a while, the
ena Headey story strays from its straight-up
shooter formula. It lingers on the
inches out as nameless and powerless, reveal-
ing worlds to you. The audience
a evil bitch. can still discover something out-
side the bloodshed.
"Dredd" hearkens back to
1987 when "Robocop" came out
lby, doe-eyed and idealis- during a boom in gang violence.
ns in a feminist-pleasing Unfortunately, "Dredd" never
mance. Where humanity quite reaches the level at that
ce, she provides. But the film. It leaves much of its politi-
andout would have to be cal and societal overtones barely
y. Her mannerisms are touched, but its satiric violence
ly sinister. Her sadism and emotionless protagonist pose
nysterious turns that seem some interesting questions.
nonchalant and tragic in Our culture is obsessed with
aracter's spacey moments. the ideaof a hero, an invulnerable
'r experience as a prosti- ideal. Dredd stands for justice,
illoused her to the entire but in that pursuit he becomes
or is it the drugs? Despite "more machine than man," more
me, there is not a single Dark Knight than he is Bruce
al instinct in her soulless, Wayne. In order to tame man,
body. "Dredd" seems to suggest that
re isn't a terrible amount we need something beyond moral
about Urban. After all, he nuance, something incorrupt-
a mask the entire time, and ible and unaffected by violence,
llowed an abundance of totally dedicated to a single ideal.
n. That said, he's surpris- It suggests that all power comes
i - hardboiled to the point from violence. And so we come
.rdity. Whenever he utters to an old Orwellian/Glenn Beck-
ulous one-liner, with the ian question: Is that a society we
iest of frowns, the juxta- wish to live in? Or are we already
n is hilarious. Some could living in Mega-City One?

RELEASE DATE- Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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5 Scours 3 Like a good 37 Drug cop leader Moshe
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feature strings attached 44 Dependent 61 Midwest Native
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1 _ mater By'KanMueller 09/25/12
(c)2012 Tribune Media services, Inc.

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