Arbitrage Directed by: Nicholas Jarecki Cast: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Tim Roth Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: R Release Date: September 14, 2012
PLOT: Robert (Gere) runs a trading company and has taken a lot of risks. Now his company is desperate, but that's nothing compared to the mess he's gotten into with his personal life. A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.
WHO'S IT FOR? This is an adult drama that affectively sprinkles in some soap-opera drama. It's also one of the "really good" Gere performances.
Do you want to watch a rich guy attempting to sign a contract? Hang on, don't leave yet. Let me change that around. You want to watch a rich guy attempting to sign a contract. Gere plays a man who gets in over his head in more ways than one. You'll watch him squirm, but more importantly you'll actually care if he gets out of this jam.
First-time director Jarecki has crafted an economic thriller that goes beyond the boardrooms. Robert runs a company, takes risks, and looks for a way out. At first it seems Robert is the perfect family man, with a loving wife (Sarandon), and a daughter (Marling) who helps him run his trading company. What we begin to realize is that he's in it for himself. It's the image of success, whether that be in personal or professional life, that drives Robert.
Robert has a fling on the side. When tragedy strikes, he does what we assume any rich person would do; he buys and wiggles his way out. The great thing here is that Gere doesn't ever make this feel like melodrama. When Det. Michael Bryer (Roth) starts poking around as a very amusing over-the-top "from the streets" cop, I can't figure out who I am rooting for. Sure, I know right and wrong, but the excitement doesn't always come from right and wrong in films. Gere juggles his company and his entire life like we want him to. He's the smartest man in the room, but with everything falling apart, we don't know if that will be enough. This is a great showcase of how a man of status expects and demands, even when he doesn't deserve it.
The supporting cast of Sarandon, Marling, Roth and Nate Parker as Jimmy Grant do a great job of making this about more than just a million-dollar deal. On top of that, any film that employs Chris Eigeman (Kicking and Screaming) has my vote. It's also nice to see Marling be normal. You know what I mean if you've seen Another Earth and The Sound of My Voice. All of those actors have their moments, but this is really Gere's film. I can't think of a better man to play a rich guy whose back is against the wall.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10