An Officer and A Gentleman: Paramount/ Kobal collection
Owen Gleiberman
January 31, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Which actor rapped by critics deserves better?

Who do you feel is the most underrated actor in movies today? — Frank
A lot of critics, including me, got so used to thinking of Richard Gere as an empty vessel of fake intensity that we’re all still playing catch-up to how much he really has ripened with age. In Unfaithful, he caught the shame of a cuckolded husband with a candor that felt nearly confessional, and in lighter fare like Dr. T & the Women and, most snazzily, Chicago, he has perfected a mode of quicksilver bemusement. It’s always been obvious that Gere had talent, yet with the exception of his stirring hollow-man-finds-a-soul performance in An Officer and a Gentleman, what he lacked until recently was the confidence of an actor who’s truly enjoying himself on screen. That’s what made him so winning in Chicago: At long last, he found the authority to play a narcissistic smooth hustler without merely coming off as a smooth narcissist himself.

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