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Will Roadside's Wall Street Drama 'Arbitrage,' Starring Richard Gere, Repeat 'Margin Call' Magic?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 3, 2012 at 2:58PM

When Lionsgate/Roadside scooped up U.S. distribution rights for some $2 million for Nicholas Jarecki's Wall Street drama "Arbitrage" at Sundance last January, they were banking on the film being as much a crowd-pleaser as their last Sundance acquisition, sleeper indie "Margin Call," which scored more than $13 million worldwide.

Variety: In Hitchcock movies, innocent men struggle to clear their names. In "Arbitrage," the opposite is true: Billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is guilty of fraud, infidelity and murder, but he walks free of consequence in a system fueled by money. If that cold business-as-usual philosophy sounds cynical, don't tell writer-director Nicholas Jarecki, who seems oddly nonjudgmental about the iffy morality in his high-toned narrative debut. "Arbitrage" never lets Miller squirm for long, whether cooking the books or covering up the accidental death of his mistress. Such smart, adult-targeted fare should pay dividends for the right distrib.

THR: The threat of a Madoff-like collapse adds timeliness and tension to Nicholas Jarecki's Arbitrage, a screw-turner about a man whose greed may have finally caught up to him. Familiar but not stale, and greatly helped by Richard Gere's fine-tuned performance, it has strong commercial potential.

This article is related to: Richard Gere, Arbitrage, Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Oscars

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.