‘Arbitrage’ is a slick suspense thriller that consolidates its few valuable assets
Directed by Nicholas Jarecki
Written by Nicholas Jarecki
It’s starting to look like you need an Economics degree to watch movies. Last year, there was a small gem of film called Margin Call that, despite its incredibly legalese name, managed to be a gripping and insightful look into the backstabbing and ass-covering antics of Wall Street cronies. It was a fairly good movie, despite the fact that most people didn’t know what ‘margin call’ meant (even after they’ve browsed the Wikipedia article).
Now, in his directorial debut, Nicholas Jarecki brings us Arbitrage, which boasts an equally esoteric name sourced from a finance-centric vernacular, but, like Margin Call, has appeal beyond its cryptic title. Anchored by a magnetic performance from Richard Gere and an elaborate, if sometimes convoluted, story, Arbitrage is a slick suspense thriller that consolidates its few valuable assets.
Richard Gere is Robert Miller, a high-rolling New York City hedge-fund magnate who is in way over his head. A charlatan, pompous and with severe delusions of grandeur, Mr. Gere puts in an effective rendition of Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko, and although he never says that “greed is good”, it’s quite clear that he believes this to be true.
Although immaculate and PR-perfect on the outside, Miller is balancing a whole host of potentially volatile calamites on the inside. For one, he is cheating on his wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) with a French art dealer named Julie (Laetitia Casta).
For two, he is trying to sell his trading empire to a major bank before his history of fraud and chicanery catches up with him. After the sale, he plans to abdicate his high-standing position to his brilliant daughter and heir-apparent, Brooke (Brit Marling).
With the future mapped out in front of him, Miller seems destined to coast down easy street until a freak car accident puts him under the suspicion of NYPD detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth). In danger of exposing the many skeletons in his closet, Miller tries franticly to erase the trail of evidence that follows him in a desperate attempt to protect himself and, in his own mind, the people around him.