ArbitrageWednesday 27 Feb 2013
Director: Nicholas Jarecki
Starring: Richard Gere, Tim Roth, Nate Parker, Brit Marling, Susan Sarandon, Laetitia Casta, Stuart Margolin
Duration: 106 minutes
Back in the early Nineties, a writer in either Melody Maker or the NME came out with the classic line that being a fan of Depeche Mode was like supporting Arsenal: no-one was going to thank you for it. If you're a fan of Richard Gere you know the feeling. Despite Gere delivering some great performances over the decades – Brooklyn's Finest, The Mothman Prophecies, Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman, Days of Heaven - chances are he's not top of your nearest and dearest's list for a cinema trip. Arbitrage warrants a 'retrebling' of your efforts, and if indifference or point blank refusal is the response it really is their loss. This is a very classy thriller, and perhaps the performance of Gere's career.
As he turns 60, hedge fund magnate Robert Miller (Gere) can look to a beautiful family (wife played by Sarandon, daughter Marling), great wealth and legend status on Wall Street. Miller, however, wants more - or, it seems, less. He's setting up a deal to sell his business in order to shine that old spend-more-time-with-my-family chestnut. But as the dotted line deadline looms Miller's personal and professional life go into freefall, with the prospects of him seeing 61 in the same rude health becoming more remote by the day.
In his feature debut, writer-director Jarecki has made the movie that Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps should have been. Arbitrage is effortlessly slick, packed with bedroom, boardroom and courtroom tension and makes viewers question their own integrity and just how far they'd go to stay one step ahead.
Golden Globe-nominated and another actor who can feel short-changed by the lack of a place on the Oscar shortlist, Gere is superb in every scene, while the supporting cast - which includes Roth as the hangdog cop with the bit between his teeth and Parker as the kid caught between a rock and a hard place - bring much to a film that's all about black, white and grey areas. We can expect Jarecki's stock to soar.
As the joke goes, if honesty is the best policy, then it follows that dishonesty is the second best policy. You'll get plenty of the latter here, and a lot more besides.