Arbitrage written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki(Green Room Films, Treehouse Pictures, and Parlay Films, R, 107 minutes)

Starring Richard GereSusan Sarandon, Tim Roth and Brit Marling.

“When I was in fifth grade my favorite teacher was Mr. James. Mr. James said that world events revolved around five things: M-O-N-E-Y… It’s fifth grade econ. This is something we’ve seen over and over, time and time again. The competition for the limited amount of dollars out there can make the best of us manic. So, it’s not surprising that we have these asset bubbles, and when reality sets in they burst.”

-Robert Miller (Richard Gere) in the opening scene of Arbitrage

Wall Street Revisted

A fraudulent hedge fund manager decides to stick it to everyone around him in order to save himself. Robert Miller (Richard Gere) has just lost $400 million in a copper mine investment gone wrong. His fraudulent actions as a businessman has him working constantly to continue to deceive his family.

Miller turns sixty, and we learn that he is selling the company, Miller Capitol, while at the same time plugging the books in order to finesse a critical audit so that the sale will go through easily. What’s more, we learn that he has a French mistress on the side named Julie (Laetitia Casta). His wife, Ellen (Susan Sarandon) doesn’t know about his relationship with Julie, and his daughter and CIO Brooke (Brit Marling) doesn’t know about the $400 million that he sunk.

Negligent Homicide

But, unlike other fiscally based movies like Wall Street or the more recent Margin Call, Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage doesn’t revolve around the world of money. Jarecki adds another plot twist to the story. One of the women that Miller loves dies in a car wreck as Miller is driving, and Miller flees the scene. Miller enlists the help of family friend Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker) to drive him away from the scene. The NYPD soon begins to investigate, and detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth) embarks on unraveling the lies.

 Hopefully the First of Many

For a first time filmmaker, Jarecki’s story and directing are picture-perfect. He embraces every detail, from music to acting. He evokes emotion on every turn, mainly by using actor Richard Gere to his fullest potential. Jarecki paints Gere’s character as an incredibly complex individual, whom the audience has a hard time judging, despite his extreme shortcomings and nearly amoral nature.

Arbitrage is simply worth it. Gere is sixty-two now, and I daresay might be just now reaching his peak as an actor. And, Jarecki has only one movie to his name – here’s to many more to come.

Verdict: 4 out of 5

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