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Arbitrage—movie review

by Leonard Maltin
September 14, 2012 1:00 AM
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Photo by Myles Aronowitz courtesy Roadside Attractions

Richard Gere is perfectly cast in Arbitrage as a financial wheeler-dealer whose world caves in on him because of some bad decisions he’s made. But let me ask you something: does anyone find it shocking that a heartless high-roller would do absolutely anything to save his skin—even at the cost of his family’s love and professional reputation? I found myself curiously disengaged from this story and didn’t care what happened to Gere’s character.

In his dramatic feature debut, documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, who wrote and directed Arbitrage, manages to bring superficial credibility to a highly contrived story. It has the right look and feel, and the right man in the crucial leading role. The movie is never boring, but it has no resonance.

Photo by Myles Aronowitz

Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker, and Stuart Margolin head a first-class supporting cast. The real standout is Tim Roth as a streetwise New York City detective who’s seen it all and can spot a liar a mile away. His accent and attitude are perfect, and he brings much-needed spice to the film.

But when you don’t care about the outcome, nothing much else matters.

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  • Jeffrey | November 17, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    My problem with this film stemmed not from the main character's depravity and arrogance. Rather, I saw this film as creating a lot of tension and drama and then concluding with a wimper. The ending is lackadaisical, almost insulting to the audience.

  • Tom Murphy | September 22, 2012 9:40 PMReply

    Totally disagree with LM. At first you feel Miller is a good man who made some bad choices. But as Gere peels back the character' DNA, you soon begin to realize what a snake he really is. This is a very sharp, well made film that anyone who wants to see good actors displaying their craft, should go see. I look forward to Jarecki's next project.

  • Andrew | September 17, 2012 6:57 PMReply

    You are doing this a lot lately -- making a comment about the director/writer without checking the facts. It's Nicholas Jarecki, not Eugene (or Andrew) Jarecki. They are all brothers, but seriously . . . take 30 seconds to look.

    You did the same thing right in the middle of awards season to Banksy on "Exit Through the Gift Shop" saying he admitted it was a hoax . . . check the facts first, man!

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  • Jack M | September 16, 2012 7:21 PMReply

    Saw the movie today. Very intelligent script and good acting by all. Richard Gere and Tim Roth were excellent in my opinion. It is great to see a movie made for adults that held my interest all the way through. Production values were solid.

  • Steven S | September 16, 2012 5:31 PMReply

    The problem is Gere. He looks great as usual but no depth. As usual. Solid performances all round but there is nothing to hook into and it all just passes by really.

  • Jeremy | September 14, 2012 9:54 PMReply

    Heads up -- it's from Nicholas Jarecki, not Eugene. They're brothers though.

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