Arbitrage stars Richard Gere as a sort of anti-hero whose unforgiveable transgressions deserve punishment, but who’s so irresistibly charming it’s hard not to root for him.
Gere plays Robert Miller, a billionaire Wall Street investor who is at the cusp of selling his company. Literally days before the deal is signed, it all threatens to blow up in his face, when evidence of his financial improprieties are at risk of going public. Around the same time, his affair with his mistress also looks dangerously close to being exposed because of an unfortunate accident he’s involved in.
This taut financial thriller co-stars Susan Sarandon as Miller’s long-suffering wife, Brit Marling as his daughter and the CFO of his company who’s just got wind of the fraud, and Nate Parker as a poor black kid who Miller leans on for help.
Working off a sharply structured screenplay in which Miller’s multiple dilemmas inevitably overlap, director Nicholas Jarecki keeps tightening the noose around our hero’s neck, thereby making him (and us) virtually gasp for air in the film’s most tense moments.
Tim Roth shows up as a pesky detective who links the accident to Miller, and goes after him with a stubborn determination. The film’s winning hand, however, lies in its pointedly cynical observation that money can in fact buy just about anything.
I’m going with three out of five for Arbitrage. Don’t get thrown by all the financial jargon, this is a nicely done suspense that asks some tough questions. And Richard Gere is terrific in it.
Rating: 3 / 5
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