MOVIE REVIEW: Arbitrage
Arbitrage marks the feature film directorial debut of Nicholas Jarecki and boasts some high-caliber star power: multi-Golden Globe nominee and winner Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, Chicago), Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking, Bull Durham), and Oscar nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy, The Incredible Hulk).
Gere plays Robert Miller is a Wall Street magnate who doesn’t play by the rules. He commits major financial fraud (we’re talking $412 million) when his company is on the verge of going bankrupt; he cheats on his wife Ellen (Sarandon, who also played Gere’s wife in 2004’s Shall We Dance?) with a much younger woman named Julie (French model/actress Laetitia Casta); sneaks away from a car accident he caused that kills Julie; and puts at the son (Nate Parker, The Great Debaters) of one of his deceased employees in a tough spot in order to help Miller escape the scene of the crash and cover it up.
Miller’s a real standup guy – he makes no apologies for his behavior and believes if he throws enough money around, the crimes he’s committed will disappear. However, everything catches up to Miller, particularly Det. Michael Bryer (Roth), who wants to bring him down and fights hard to avoid criminal prosecution and financial ruin.
This “thriller” has a great plot, strong cast, and is relevant to today and the Bernie Madoff’s of the world. Too bad this thriller doesn’t thrill; it’s slow in too many parts.
Jarecki aims for his audience to be torn between wanting to see Miller pay for his crimes and getting away with murder, yet he falls short. Gere does a good job acting suave and debonair on the exterior, but is in actuality is a tangled mess of raw nerves and goes through superhuman lengths to cover it up. Moreover, Miller’s character is such a sleaze, you don’t pity him, which seems to be something Jarecki and Gere alike want to convey.
The movie’s only high point is the fact Sarandon’s character Ellen isn’t a naïve simpleton and has an agenda of her own. I’d recommend seeing Arbitrage at the dollar theatre or waiting for it to come out on DVD – the matinee price isn’t worth it.
STARRING: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Jarecki