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Arbitrage: The Rich, the Powerful, the Corrupt

  • Brit MarlingRichard Gere...
  • DramaMystery & Suspense
  • Nicholas Jarecki
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Arbitrage: The Rich, the Powerful, the Corrupt
Even though he’s been keeping himself busy over the last few years – by releasing at least two films per year – the fruits of Richard Gere’s labour never really got the chance to translate onto the big-screen.

Now, with the release of Nicholas Jarecki’s corporate thriller Arbitrage, Richard Gere’s quiet charm, good looks and a powerful on-screen presence finally find the right place to shine; reminding us all the he really can act.

Venture capitalist, Robert Miller (Gere), has it all; a multi-billion dollar business – successful thanks to his renowned ability to pinpoint a victorious investment – a loving family and a gorgeous young mistress. 

On his sixtieth birthday, with his devoted wife Elena (Sarandon) and his daughter Brooke (Marling) by his side, Robert announces his retirement.  The announcement comes as a bit of a shock to Brooke, who happens to be the chief investment officer at her father’s company and who wishes to continue to learn and grow the business next to her father.

Nevertheless, Robert manages to convince her that this is a good idea and that some quality family time is all he wants and needs.  Of course, there is more to his sudden motives. Robert fails to mention that he is in the middle of a deal that changes his life.

Pretty soon, Arbitrage‘s secrets start spinning out of control taking Robert for a ride, forcing him to seek help from Jimmy Grant (Parker) – the son of his former chauffeur – and inviting the unwanted attention of a snooping Detective Bryer (Roth).

Director Nicholas Jarecki – inspired by a collection of essays about the financial crisis first published in Vanity Fair called “The Great Hangover: 21 tales of the New Recession” – made the right choice in casting Gere in the role of Robert Miller.  His character, although hard to relate to, is the only shining beacon of Arbitrage. The film is polished, sure – the cinematography by Yorick Le Saux fills Arbitrage with a cold tone of a corporate thriller – but it lacks depth and has a good share of narrative gaps.

Nonetheless, it is still manages to be an intriguing tale. Full of twists and turns, Jarecki has provided enough suspense to keep you guessing the final outcome.

Driven by fear of getting caught, rather than guilt, this film would be nothing without its leading man, Gere.  His cool-stare, perfectly fitted tailored suits and a never-before-seen energy, is what keeps the whole film together. Roth, in the role of a detective on a mission, has a bit of trouble with nailing the accent; while Sarandon, unfortunately, is somewhat of peripheral character.  Her role as an over-privileged, yet ignored wife is completely overshadowed by the leading man. 

Jarecki’s feature debut doesn’t aspire to be overly invigorating or brainy; the storyline is neither good nor terrible.  What makes it work? The remarkable leadership of an actor whose return to the big-screen is welcomed with open arms.   

Like This? Try

Margin Call (2011), The Company Men (2010), Boiler Room (2000)

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Richard Gere replaced Al Pacino in the role of Robert Miller.

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