Captivating Morality Tale
Release Date: September 14, 2012
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate Films
Director: Nicholas Jarecki
Writer: Nicholas Jarecki
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lionsgate Films AKA Lions Gate Films (Summit Entertainment/Roadside Attractions)
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200; Fax: (310) 255-3870
The movie opens with Wall Street financier Robert Miller celebrating his 60th birthday with his wife and family. Both his daughter and his son work for him at his hedge fund company, but it’s the daughter who has the brains, so she’s handling the company books.
What she and the other family members don’t know, however, is that Robert has made a bad bet in the market. Making matters worse, he’s trying to hide his losses from everyone so he can sell his company to another wealthy man. If the man learns about the closes, which are being covered by a huge loan from a friend, he won’t buy the company, and Robert will go bankrupt, or worse, being charged for criminal activity by the feds.
Robert is also covering up his affair with a much younger woman. As is natural for these kinds of things, the other woman is upset that Robert never has enough time for her and keeps putting off a divorce.
Later that evening, Robert soothes her feelings by offering her a whole weekend at a secluded hideaway they’ve used before. On the way there, a terrible accident occurs, the woman dies in a vicious car wreck, and Robert covers up the fact he was driving the car. He uses the son of a long-dead African-American associate to pick him up and get out of Dodge, so to speak.
Will Robert be able to evade exposure of all his irresponsible decisions? How far will he go?
ARBITRAGE is more of a morality play than an attack on capitalism. In fact, when Robert bluffs the other guy into buying his company at the price Robert wants and needs, the movie makes it easy to root for Robert. Thus, there’s some moral ambiguity in the script that allows viewers to take part in Robert’s world, but at the same time, delight when Robert finally gets his comeuppance. In that sense, ARBITRAGE isn’t some propaganda piece about Wall Street, but it is a sober look at the corruption that sometimes takes over the lives of those in high finance.
It helps that the acting in ARBITRAGE is excellent. Richard Gere gives one of his best performances as the charming and compassionate, but deeply flawed lead character. First-time director Nicholas Jarecki (who also wrote the script) is clearly a new talent to watch.
All that said, ARBITRAGE contains lots of strong foul language. The sexual content isn’t explicit, but it’s still designed for older audiences. Overall, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
ARBITRAGE is a morality play, not a political attack on Wall Street. It’s more like a suspenseful character study with sobering thoughts on moral corruption. The acting in ARBITRAGE is excellent. Richard Gere gives one of his best performances. That said, ARBITRAGE contains lots of strong foul language. The sexual content isn’t explicit, but it’s still designed for older audiences. Overall, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.