Sundance 2012 Review: ARBITRAGE

MovieReview Sundance by Joey Paur

Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Roth all star in this Sundance drama Arbitrage, which follows a hedge fund billionaire named Robert Miller (Gere) at a moment when he has to face the realities of his life. The main character is in the process of selling his business and is committing fraud to do it. At the same time, he is dealing with some major issues with his family and mistress. This sets in motion a series of moral challenges that he must face and takes the audience on a journey with how he deals with them and covers them up. Sarandon plays Gere's wife, and Roth plays a detective investigating him. 

I thought this was solidly good film, but at the same time I found it frustrating. The story deals with some major moral issues, I won't mention anything else other than the financial crimes, because I don't want to spoil things for you in case you end up seeing it. Robert does everything he can in his power to get away with what he's done, and it bothered the hell out of me that because he is rich and powerful he doesn't feel that he has to take any responsibly. The best way I can describe it is as a scandalous anti-morality tale.

The film was written and directed by first time filmmaker Nicholas Jarecki, and for a first time feature film he did a pretty good job. Gere, Sarandon, and Roth all gave solidly great performances, and while there were a couple thrilling moments in the film, it's a film that not everyone will like. I think it's worth renting, but I wouldn't go out of my way to pay any money to see it in theaters. I honestly don't think this one will do very well in theaters. 

Here's the Synopsis:

Nicholas Jarecki makes an auspicious directorial debut with this taut and alluring suspense thriller about love, loyalty, and high finance. Arbitrage—buying low and selling high—depends on a person’s ability to determine the true value of any given market. It’s a talent that has made billionaire hedge fund magnate Robert Miller the very portrait of success in American business. But on the eve of his sixtieth birthday, Miller finds himself desperately trying to sell his trading empire to a major bank before the extent of his fraud is discovered. When an unexpected bloody error challenges his perception of what things are worth, Miller finds that his business is not the only thing hanging in the balance.

Building on the chemistry and charisma of an outstanding cast, including Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Tim Roth, and Nate Parker, Jarecki leads us through the slick and duplicitous limits of impunity and composes an anatomy of the way asset bubbles can burst.

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