The Deal

"Weak"

The Deal Review


It's an old adage that you "write what you know," which is very much the case here. First-time screenwriter Ruth Epstein is a 9-year veteran investment banker with Wall Street's Goldman Sachs. As a legal and financial negotiator, she knows mergers backwards. What she trips up on is translating the language of high stakes finance into intelligible drama.

Most of us couldn't tell the difference between a back-end hedge and a backhoe. So, when Delaney & Strong's hot shot investment banker Tom Grover (Christian Slater) is asked to manage a Russian oil company called Black Star in a $20 billion sale to Condor Oil & Gas, the technical details are about as clear as, well... a barrel of crude.

The need to pull his company out of impending bankruptcy with this deal shines through the goo, and we detect that Tom is up against a global conspiracy and the Russian mob. Though we want to bond to him, the part, and Slater's performance, generates all the sympathy of a legal contract. Salvaging the operation is tree-hugger Abbey Gallagher (Selma Blair), whom Tom's been trying to recruit. Before coming aboard, she seeks advice from her mentor, Harvard professor Roseman (John Heard), and he's just fine with his protégé's ability to add her ecological water to the company's oil -- but that subplot doesn't mix.

When an executive of Condor is killed, we start to appreciate the stakes involved and grasp that maybe there's some drama being pumped to the surface along with the sludge. In a strategy of co-opting a potential hitch in the deal, Condor's slick CEO Jared Tolson (Robert Loggia) lures an increasingly suspicious Tom into evaluating his company's bid. But this doesn't go down well with Tom's boss, steel-jawed Hank Weiss (Colm Feore), furious that Tom would align with the other side.

At this late stage of the game, the vixenish Anna (Angie Harmon) is introduced as a femme fatale with designs on the handsome banker who has, by now, begun to chemically react with his alluring recruit. This competitive romantic angle is explored like a newly opened tract at Alaska's Anwar Preserve, with sweet Abbey getting the short end of the deal. Until, that is, Tom catches on that Anna is a corporate spy (with a Russian accent out of the Comedy Store) engaged in espionage through seduction. The time it takes him to reach this insight tests our patience, but we breathe a sigh of relief when he rejects the temptress and gets it on with the gal we've been rooting for.

Blair's casual animal appeal comes through despite some wickedly stiff, aimless direction by co-producer Harvey Kahn) and she readily becomes the only emotional connection on the patch. She's a welcome balance to Slater, whose serious concerns as the third co-producer on the film (alongside Epstein and Kahn) leak into a performance that shows signs of rust. One might think that the principals who put this dry well together were fueled more from mutual need to make a movie than from a gusher of talent. If only someone on the team had a clue that a re-write was as essential as the cleanup of an oil spill.

Here's the deal: My tongue, your throat.



The Deal

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 20th November 2008

Distributed by: Peace Arch Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Tom Hanson, as Abbey Gallagher, as Jared Tolson, as Hank Weiss, as Anna, as Professor Roseman, as John Cortland, as Janice Long, Paul McGillion as Richard Kester, as Theo Gorbov, Jim Thorburn as Shane Waller, Philip Granger as Jerome Halliday, as Sara Kester, Christine Lippa as Lucy Rahlston, Vyacheslav Vinnik as Nicholai Chernoff, Peter Hall as Clark Jackwell, Jay Robert Inslee as Senator Lucas, Linda Darlow as Erma, Frida Betrani as Jared's Secretary, Tony Alcantar as Agent Grazer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.