FILM / John Lyttle on cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Why does Richard Gere think he's so bloody adorable? He does you know. Whether he's snapping the lid of a jewellery case onto Julia Roberts's gloved hand in Pretty Woman (funny guy]) or posing full frontal in American Gigolo or dancing into Jersualem wearing Pampers in King David, Gere thinks he's the bee's knees, ankles and bicycle clips. His whole demeanour cries out: I am more than a pretty face. I have feelings too and things to say. Behind my Dulux-white smile lies a sensitive, tormented man (cue that moody close-up) and you should love me, body and soul.

The forthcoming Mr Jones (right) couldn't make the message clearer. He's supposed to be playing a manic-depressive but he's just Richard Gere exploring the depths - well, the shallows - of his image (the exploration of image is sometimes known as narcissism). Here's Richard as we foolish creatures want him: up, up and away, kidding around, flashing the grin, wooing the ladies, spending money like its going out of fashion, interrupting an orchestra so he can puckishly conduct.

But is this the 'real' Richard? No. As the movie unreels (unravels, actually) we are privileged to know the man inside. Weeping gently on his first stay in Lena Olin's mental hospital, unafraid to struggle with his demons, walking the streets in pain, feeling betrayed when Olin digs into his past without permission. . . this, the film covertly suggests, is the face behind the PR gloss, the intuitive soul who is pally with the Dalai Lama. Surely his other persona deserves a new name, a name different from the product we call Richard Gere. Surely we should call this person. . . Dick?

(Photograph omitted)