Saw this tonight and have to say, felt tense through almost the entire film. On the surface (and underneath for that matter) it's like one of those 1940s melodrama/thrillers that often were labeled "women's movies" like most of Joan Crawford's oeuvre (as they say). Only in this case Richard Gere is Crawford. And, like her, he makes it work (full disclosure, I used to know Richard and liked him very much, he's a nice guy in my experience).
The story is contrived and half the plot points don't hold up when considered in the light of street lamps on your way home, but while you're watching the film, or at least while I was, I bit every hook and held on. Because, though some of the storyline twists don't really make sense in retrospect, the story moves so fast and and plot points pile up so high I made quick adjustments (yeah, I was hurt in an accident and it looked like internal bleeding, but I survived by holding the part of my torso where the pain came from and my bruised spleen supposedly was located while ignoring doctors orders to stay in bed for a week and went out to the Peppermint Lounge instead to dance the night away) etc. so I could keep up with the unfolding story.
It really made me tense, while at the same time I was admiring some of the acting and critically observing the rest. Gere is up to a lot of his old tricks but, again, they work. And Susan Sarandon is as always brilliant. Tim Roth plays a New York cop with his usual panache (though I kept thinking wtf there aren't actors who are actual New Yorkers available?!). A young actor named Nate Parker does a great job with a more or less thankless role and cameos by all sorts of interesting actors would have been enough for me to have felt I got my money's worth.
I thought Brit Marling as the daughter, one of the major roles in the film, was uneven, some moments worked perfectly, some didn't. But that didn't keep me from still feeling the rush of tension and fearful expectations. Great soundtrack too, and great tracking shots and editing. A "great" film: no. A great escape for a couple of hours: yes. I forgot what had been on my mind before the movie started. Which is one of the main reasons I go to movies and watch them on TV. And though I had read somewhere that Gere looked his character's age, sixty, I was thinking he looked better than ever with some lines of experience and that leonine gray mane. Like the kind of wealthy successful character he played, and is.