Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Movie with Abe: Arbitrage

Directed by Nicholas Jarecki
Released September 14, 2012 / DVD December 18, 2012

The thriller is an ideal genre, a film that finds a delicate balance between invigorating drama and appropriate suspense. “Arbitrage” starts out as an enticing chronicle of one man’s impending legal troubles after he realizes that the financial fraud he has committed with his hedge fund may soon bring him down. After a late-night visit to the home of his mistress, however, “Arbitrage” changes directions and turns into an intense thriller with a guilty man at its center, trying his best to ensure that he doesn’t spend the rest of his life in prison and lose everything he has built.

Richard Gere, who has been working in film for thirty-five years, earned a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, an award for which he was last in contention exactly thirty years ago, for his performance as fast-talking moneyman Richard Miller. While he clearly loves his money and emphasizes business over the people in his life, Miller shouldn’t be confused for another Gordon Gekko. Miller is a man so entrenched in his career that he’s lost track of what matters, and it’s truly interesting to watch him try to dig his way out of the hole he has dug for himself.

Miller starts out at the beginning of the film on top, and Gere paints him as a businessman defined by success. His subsequent decline is enormously watchable, and Gere turns in his finest performance in a long time, fully immersing himself in the role. He has plenty of support in his costars, namely Susan Sarandon as his strong-willed wife, Brit Marling as his straight-arrow daughter and business associate, Tim Roth as a belligerent detective intent on putting him away, and Nate Parker as the young man Miller calls when he finds himself in trouble who finds his own livelihood in jeopardy as a result.

“Arbitrage” follows its lead character down a treacherous path, never reaching too far to conjure up overly convenient circumstances and instead examining the specific actions of all of the characters. Gere’s nuanced performance drives the film, and his character is equally strongly written, which makes him an excellent lead. The complexity of the characters and the events create an extremely intriguing and captivating backdrop for this story, and it’s not difficult to become entranced by the film’s twists and turns. “Arbitrage” succeeds both as a drama and a thriller, weaving a compelling tale of deception.


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