Arbitrage is defined as the opportunity to buy an item at a low price then immediately selling it on a different market for a higher price. Sounds like Ebay, but Richard Gere seems to be negotiating for acting prizes with this film and he’s not the only one.
Robert Miller (Richard Gere) appears to have it all. He runs a successful capital firm that also employs his daughter Brooke (Brit Marling), his wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) gives generously to many local charities, and Robert appears to be closing the deal of his lifetime. He even bankrolls his mistress Julie’s (Laetitia Casta) art gallery.
Appearances can be deceiving since Robert’s fund is only successful thanks to come clever accounting thanks to a major loss investing in a Russian copper mine. He needs the sale to make things solvent and pay his anxious businessman friend who has loaned him the 400 million to tide him over until the sale goes through. His buy appears to be getting cold feet and a car accident ends with Robert bruised and battered and Julie dead. He runs away from the scene and calls Jimmy (Nate Parker), a young black man that Robert hasn’t contacted in years.
Soon Detective Bryer (Tim Roth) is eyeing both Jimmy and Robert as suspects and that’s just the beginning of Robert’s troubles. How can he arbitrate his way out of both his financial woes and avoid prison time for manslaughter?
Arbitrage might be a troubling film in that it seeks to make a Bernie Madoff-type the hero of our story. Not exactly an easy task, but in the hands of Richard Gere it actually does it. It’s quite a good performance from him and some critics are already pushing him for awards season. He is given the spotlight with the film and truly may garner some nods when nominations do come. He does get a nice speech on a park bench scene but Sarandon also gets a good one toward the end so you may also see her mentioned as well.
In fact, Arbitrage is full of good performances but the negotiation seems to favor Gere. In our current economy, it may not be fantastic to see this type of guy trying to get out of situations you may want him to fumble. I’m sure Madoff may have used the same arguments when his financial empire was crumbling. However, you’re so caught up in the storyline that you, or at least I did, tend to forget the comparison. The financials tend to move into the background as you become more concerned about if Gere is going to take responsibility or get away with it.
Arbitrage is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1). Special features include a commentary with director Nicholas Jarecki, a 12 minute “Glimpse into Arbitrage” making of, the 7 minute “Who is Robert Miller?” about the character, and 10 minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary.
Arbitrage is a film that features some great acting. The kudos and attention may be focused on Gere, who is worthy of it, but the film has moments for all the actors involved. If you lost all your savings to Bernie Madoff then you might be less enthusiastic though.
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