“Arbitrage” Review


Arbitrage (2012)

Richard Gere plays a successful businessman, Robert Miller. Miller is a busy man, shuffling two distinct lives: one in which he is a self-made millionaire and a family man, the very face of respectability and success; and another where he is a deceitful and unfaithful husband keeping a beautiful mistress on the side, while also being an intelligent business fraudster. When a car accident shutters the well-thought-out balance of his double life, forcing him to start covering his shameful deeds, it becomes unclear whether or not he has already gone too far on the road of lust and deceit to be able to surface unharmed.

On a positive side, ‘Arbitrage’ builds tension well, especially at the beginning. It is an intense and interesting watch, and, thanks to Gere, we see some very dramatic performances and interesting plot developments. However, strangely enough, as this film goes on it starts to disappoint. It becomes more predictable and overly dramatic, and would have sank beneath the mundane and ordinary, but for Richard Gere’s breath-taking portrayal of a man on the brick of a nervous breakdown, and his supporting cast, which includes amazing Susan Sarandon, as Miller’s wife, Ellen, as-laid-back-as-ever – Tim Roth, as detective Bryer, and a relative newcomer, Brit Marling, as Miller’s daughter, Brooke.

Seeing Gere’s outstanding performance it is amazing to know that he actually replaced Al Pacino at the very last minute, just before the start of the film’s shooting. Though Al Pacino would also have made the best of this role, Gere is probably a better choice. This is because Al Pacino’s ‘mob history’ still clings to him despite all odds (as do his corresponding looks), and that impression would have given the character of Robert Miller away. Rumours have it that Eva Green (‘Dark Shadows (2012)) was also attached to the film to be cast as Robert Miller’s lover, Julie, the role, which eventually went to Laetitia Casta.

We probably have all seen ‘rich-and-successful-man-got-into-trouble’ films and even read some excellent books popularising that theme. One great novel here is Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’, portraying a rich Wall Street worker in 1980s New York and his subsequent fall from grace. ‘Arbitrage’ follows a similar plot to Wolfe’s novel, but with a different finale. Interestingly enough, the 1990 film adaptation of ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’, starting Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith, proved to be a critical and commercial flop, decade later being aired only in the countries of the former Yugoslavia with a relative success.

The weakest point of ‘Arbitrage’ is probably its ending, which is a typical ‘John Grisham’ ending, meaning there is no ending at all. The film manages to build enough anticipation for the audience to feel underwhelmed by the ending. Although, it is also fair to say that the ending is in no way unintelligent or without a drop of some genius aforethought.

Despite ‘Arbitrage’s faults and it’s dangerous closeness to appearing too predictable (as well as it being filled with too many barely comprehensible ‘hedge fund’ talks), the film can still be considered a very good crime thriller overall. Apart from great cast and phenomenal performances, the film also boasts beautiful scenes, and in-tune soundtrack. 7/10


8 Responses to “Arbitrage” Review

  1. keith7198 says:

    Nice review. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this movie but I’ve never stopped to take time and watch it. Gonna have to.

  2. I haven’t watched this one. Your comments regarding the ending probably go a long way to explaining why the film didn’t do well at the box office.

  3. Great review. Will try to catch this when it surfaces in the UK.

  4. ruth says:

    I’ve come across this so many times but kept choosing another one instead. Predictable huh, that’s too bad. It seemed like it could be from the trailer but I was hoping it would still be suspenseful.

  5. moviejoltz says:

    I enjoyed the acting in this film.

  6. Pingback: “Wakefield” Review | dbmoviesblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Where I write about concerts and life's memorable events?

The Super Network

Reviews, Super Podcast, Wrestling, Conventions

Christopher Lindsay

Short Stories & Essays

Really Awful Movies

Horror Movies, Science Fiction, Exploitation, Action, Genre Films.

Sometimes Objective Reviews

Psychobabble, Reviews and Wrap Ups of a Film and TV Enthusiast


“So many books, so little time.”

Not Left Handed Film Guide

"I am not left handed either."

Lindsay Acland

journalist & film blogger

Abbie watches stuff

Words about films, TV and more

The Schleicher Spin

"I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it." -- William Faulkner