Arbitrage (2013)

01 March 2013

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Arbitrage. Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, Chicago) gives a stunning, career-best performance in Nicholas Jarecki’s ARBITRAGE, a role that this month saw him nominated in the Best Actor category at the 2013 Golden Globes. Academy Award winning Susan Sarandon (The Lovely Bones, Dead Man Walking) also stars in this tense and gripping story of desperation in the face of financial and family ruin. Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs), Brit Marling (Another Earth), Laetitia Casta (The Island) and Nate Parker (The Secret Life of Bees) complete the stellar cast.

When we first meet New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller (Gere), he appears the very portrait of success in American business and family life. However, behind the gilded walls of his mansion, Miller is in over his head, desperately trying to conceal an affair with French art-dealer Julie Cote (Casta) whilst racing to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before his fraudulent dealings are revealed. When a tragic accident complicates things further, attracting the unwanted attention of tenacious NYPD detective Michael Bryer (Roth), Miller finds himself battling not just for his reputation but also his life.  As the net tightens around him, Miller realises that the suspicions of not just the police but also his loyal wife (Sarandon) and heir-apparent (Marling) have been aroused. With time running out, can Miller find a way out without destroying his own life and those around him?

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"Gere gives an intense performance, marching to his own villainous theme..."

There’s a crucial difference between an evil man and a dishonest man. The dishonest man, more often than not, has ‘good intentions’ whereas the bad man does not. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions; Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is a dishonest man. As Arbitrage’s plot unfolds it becomes clear that everything Robert Miller does, in his opinion, is for the greater good. Though this is not enough to condemn him, it is enough for Nicholas Jarecki to portray him as the villain.

A power play is built around Miller, he manages a hedge fund with his daughter Brooke (Brit Marling), and he has a beautiful - yet frustrated - wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) who pretends to be oblivious to his affair. As a multi-billionaire with power and women it seems like he has everything, but laden with lies and deceit, his life begins to crumble due to an investment loss and the accidental murder of his mistress, an atrocity that he is running from. By using the many puppet strings that he has in his power he manages to evade detective Bryer (Tim Roth) - whose demeanour is annoying at best – and escape the justice he is due.

Arbitrage is an honest look at the power of money and the façade that develops around Robert Miller’s determination to control his world. Gere gives an intense performance, marching to his own villainous theme which acts as the background music to his every corrupt move. The depiction of him as the iniquitous ‘bad-guy’ is enhanced by a black trench coat flowing behind him in a cape-like fashion. It may sound laughable, and you’re probably picturing Gere in some sort of Magneto getup, but it works as an attractive foreshadowing technique; when the trench and theme-song emerge you know something is about to go down.

Though Cliff Martinez’s soundtrack is a valuable asset for the suspense in Arbitrage, with this film, silence is the key. Every lead up to an intense moment, say an argument or an explosion, uses silence to give the critical event a more powerful effect. Everything in Arbitrage is just right, there’s nothing fancy about it and the acting from the entire cast is passionate. It is a solid film, though admittedly with a few loose ends. Nonetheless, as Jarecki’s first feature-length film it is surprisingly brilliant.

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london premiere
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  • Venue
  • Odeon West End
  • Celebrities in Attendence
  • Richard Gere
  • Nicholas Jarecki
  • Mohammed Al Turki
  • Natasha Leigh
  • Julia Bradbury
  • Premiere Date
  • 20 February 2013
dvd details
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DVD cover
  • Release Date
  • 15 July 2013
  • Technical Features / Extras
  • Format: Dolby
  • PAL
  • Widescreen
  • Region: Region B/2
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Koch Media