Written and directed by: Nicholas Jarecki
Cast: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker
Running Time: 100 minutes
The title of Arbitrage may lead you to assume that this film is the next in a string of features and documentaries that continues to dissect the banking industry. And that it will provide yet another look at how those Wall Street kingpins stole our savings, homes and jobs, literally taking the money and running. Not so. While the word “arbitrage” describes what the hedge fund manager does, i.e., Buying on one exchange and selling on another at virtually the same moment to take advantage of a price variation in a company’s shares listed on the two exchanges, it doesn’t cue us to the fact that this particular story isn’t so much about the operation … but the operator.
And what an operator he is, theatrically explaining to Maria Bartiromo and the CNBC cameras that “world events all revolve around five things: M-O-N-E-Y.” Answering to the bland moniker of Robert Miller (Richard Gere), this superstar hedge fund manager appears to have it all: a loving, supportive wife (Susan Sarandon’s Ellen), a brilliant daughter who’s also his company’s chief accountant (Brit Marling’s Brooke), a hot mistress (Laetitia Casta’s Julie) and, from what we can glean, all the money in the world. But Miller has recently taken a catastrophic loss from his investment in a foreign copper mine, and is trying to cover it up with some light-fingered fraud. Unless he can sell his company immediately, his entire fortune will be wiped out. Throw in an audit and a difficult problem with the mistress, and Miller finds he’s no longer laughing all the way to the bank.
Inspired by the 2010 Vanity Fair series entitled “The Great Hangover: 21 Tales of the New Recession” — note the inclusion of a winking cameo by Vanity Fair chieftain Graydon Carter — Arbitrage represents Nicholas Jarecki’s first feature. (Yes, that Jarecki, a last name that’s become synonymous with controversial documentaries. Such as Eugene Jarecki’s Reagan, Freakonomics, Why We Fight; Andrew Jarecki’s Capturing the Friedmans; and Nicholas Jarecki’s The Outsider.)
Here, the youngest brother/filmmaker Jarecki invests his film with a great sense of pacing and tension, moving the drama along swiftly. It’s a well-crafted plot, effortlessly juggling both the financial and family drama, along with a dogged Columbo-eque complication nipping at its heels.
But it’s Gere’s performance that brings a decided dazzle to the whole. As king of the castle … [for the remainder of Kimberly Gadette's review and rating on doddle, click here]