By Matt Singer | Criticwire September 14, 2012 at 10:27AM
More and more films premiere on Video on Demand -- if they don't simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we're looking at "Arbitrage," a financial thriller starring Richard Gere as a Bernie Madoff-esque tycoon fighting to keep his head above water -- not the chilling story of a man named Roger Arbit's descent into violence.
Director: Nicholas Jarecki
Cast: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth
Official Synopsis: "'Arbitrage,' the feature directorial debut of writer Nicholas Jarecki, is a taut and alluring suspense thriller about love, loyalty, and high finance. When we first meet New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere) on the eve of his 60th birthday, he appears the very portrait of success in American business and family life. But behind the gilded walls of his mansion, Miller is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed. Struggling to conceal his duplicity from loyal wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and brilliant daughter and heir-apparent Brooke (Brit Marling), Miller's also balancing an affair with French art-dealer Julie Côte (Laetitia Casta). Just as he's about to unload his troubled empire, an unexpected bloody error forces him to juggle family, business, and crime with the aid of Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), a face from Miller's past. One wrong turn ignites the suspicions of NYPD Detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth), who will stop at nothing in his pursuits. Running on borrowed time, Miller is forced to confront the limits of even his own moral duplicity. Will he make it out before the bubble bursts?"
"Sex, wealth, paternal swagger -- all of the colors come out of Gere in a showstopping performance."
"The movie has the vibrations of firsthand knowledge."
"Jarecki gets across something meaningful about how for a certain type of person, everything in life is a negotiation."
"Don't let the topical title fool you: 'Arbitrage,' starring Richard Gere as a risk-addicted Wall Streeter, isn't interested in how America's wealthiest businessmen wrecked our economy. Instead, the film uses the formula of an old-fashioned thriller to answer deeper questions: Who are these guys, and what drove them to do it?"
"In the end, the moralism of 'Arbitrage' feels glued-on rather than earned."