Movie review: Arbitrage

Sep 15, 2012, 07:10 IST | Mihir Fadnavis

Arbitrage plays like a gawky cousin of last year's financial thriller Margin Call. The film seems a tad too dated to be released in 2012, though it delivers the James Hadley Chase style thrills and features a great performance from Richard Gere to make us forgive the thin plot

Gere stars as Robert Miller, a Wall Street bigwig on the verge of disaster. On his 60th birthday Miller sells his hedge fund off for a large sum, but there are two snags he has committed accounting fraud and owes someone hundreds of millions of dollars, and he is cheating on his wife (Susan Sarandon) for a French artist (Laetitia Casta).


Things take a turn when Miller gets involved in a fatal car accident, and he is forced to beg for help from an old enemy (Nate Parker) to clean up all the evidence. Miller doesn’t have it easy, because hot on his trail is a detective (Tim Roth) who is determined to hurl Miller behind bars.

First time writer-director Nicholas Jarecki has crafted a decent story that would’ve been a classic had it released 15 years ago, but not just seems like a fun enough diversion. Richard Gere has clearly stepped into the shoes of Michael Douglas who is past retirement age now and for the next 10 years one can expect him to star in all the rich-tycoon-thrillers. Which is quite okay, because Gere goes all out here, sifting from his character’s ego to the quiet lies to the violent outbursts.

Jarecki starts off on slow burn mode and then plunges his protagonist’s neck into a noose, although he doesn’t quite manage to pull off a satisfying climax. Sarandon’s character has an odd presence in the film, but there’s the lovely Brit Marling (from Another Earth) to keep things lively. If you’re a fan of ’90s thrillers like A Perfect Murder, and are looking forward to a mildly entertaining diversion, Arbitrage is for you. 

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