Not necessarily a profound statement wouldnt you say? This is the ledge on whichteeters as it boasts some great performances, but in the end doesnt pack quite the wallop of a punch I felt it was preparing to deliver. Twists in the narrative are, at first, jarring and then intriguing, but ultimately deliver a lot of the same old themes on the value of power over circumstance as a wealthy businessman sets out to protect himself and his family from financial ruin, but an unexpected disaster threatens the process.
There are a lot of ways to spoil the story here so Ill be as brief as possible in the details. At the center of it all is hedge fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere), ridiculously wealthy and employing both of his children (Brit MarlingandAustin Lysy), we begin the film learning Robert is attempting to sell his business to a major bank. A certain level of urgency initially leads us to wonder just what exactly is going on, only to learn some fraudulent activity on the books could derail the entire deal.
First impressions would lead you to believe Robert is a solid family man, close with his kids and keeps his wife (Susan Sarandon) happy at home. But its quickly revealed hes having an affair on the side with a French art-dealer (Laetitia Casta) and from there a bigger picture of just what kind of life Robert leads is unearthed.
Arbitrageexplores just how far money can get someone. What will people do for money? What wont they ask? What can moneyreallybuy? In this equation moneyispower and even the most innocent of people can fall prey to a few extra dollars in their pocket, hiding the truth or simply not asking questions in fear of the answer. Its a film in which almost no one is innocent, which is its one truly great aspect.
Gere is solid in the lead role, looking older than he has in the past, allowing that confident air, he seems to naturally radiate, subside, allowing his character to come down to a more human level. I can see age being kind to Gere, whose always been known and looked at as the suave and debonair cock of the walk. Allowing some of that appearance to fall by the wayside and showing a slight crack in the veneer opens him up a little bit and makes his character more accessible and any kind of empathy felt toward his character here helps the plot immensely.
In supporting roles, bothTim Rothas a New York City detective andNate Parker, whose role I wont disclose here, are both excellent. Roths slouching posture and no BS attitude is a lot of fun to watch and Parkers performance is energetic and never misses a beat. Parkers character is important in several ways, most important of which is the Do you believe him? angle to the story that says a lot about more than just one of the characters, not to mention the audience members themselves.
Arbitrageserves as the narrative feature directorial debut for writer/directorNicholas Jareckiand hes proven here to be a talent to watch. The film makes for an easy comparison to J.C. Chandors feature debutMargin Callfrom last year. While I would sayMargin Callwas a better film overall, both have their strengths and both show Jarecki and Chandor can attract, and get the most out of, a talented cast of actors.
While I wont sayArbitrageis a must see in theaters, its definitely a film worth giving a look as you not only get to watch a few great performances, but get in on the ground floor of a potentially great up-and-coming writer and director.