OCTOBER 4, 2013

ARBITRAGE (2012)

Richard Gere plays a Walter White-esque businessman swapping high finance in lieu of cooking meth in this satisfying thriller by first time writer-director Nicholas Jarecki. I wanted to see this film in the theater but unfortunately missed it, so I was pleased to find it streaming on NETFLIX and it didn’t disappoint. It’s slickly made and sustains a palpable tension throughout.
 
Though it wallows in the complex world of big money and even bigger business, the story is simple enough. Richard Gere portrays New York hedge-fund magnet Robert Miller and he is the epitome of success with a generous wife (Susan Sarandon) and an equally wonderful family, most notable his daughter/business partner played by the always-phenomenal Brit Marling (ANOTHER EARTH, SOUND OF MY VOICE).
 
Of course, this is all a façade, as Robert is having an affair with a high-maintenance French budding art dealer and he’s, to put it mildly, “working the system,” to close a crucial deal to sell his (unbeknownst to everyone else) near-bankrupt company. If this isn’t bad enough, something terrible happens (I won’t spoil it) that threatens to expose everything and send him off to rot in prison. The film follows what Robert does in the next few days to avoid his life crumbling around him and none of it is particularly legal.
 
It’s interesting to watch the film so soon after the finale of BREAKING BAD, as it deals with similar themes especially about what truly motivates characters. They profess to do these horrible things for others, but the truth is quite opposite. This film is absolutely worth your time particularly for Richard Gere’s stellar performance. He just gets better and better as he matures and at times reminds me of Paul Newman later in his career.