Arbitrage - Review


In the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament, Moses warns the children of Israel that if they do not do the Lord’s bidding, "Be sure your sin will find you out." In the movie Arbitrage, Robert Miller is a man guilty of a multitude of sins, and they all seem to be chasing him down within a few days of his 60th birthday. As played by Richard Gere, Robert is a man of great wealth, power, and talent, but for 100 minutes we watch closely as everything he’s built seems poised to tumble like a house of cards, while his family, his colleagues, and the law begin to uncover his secrets. However, writer/director Nicholas Jarecki seems to be of two minds about his main character -- does he deserve our contempt, or are his intelligence and charm enough to vindicate him?

As Arbitrage opens, we follow Robert Miller through an afternoon of business meetings and TV tapings while we learn the extent of his wealth and power. He is a savvy financier who runs a successful hedge fund, an empire that has made him a billionaire. Robert is also a patron of the arts, a philanthropist, and the father of two grown children -- one of whom, Brooke (Brit Marling), has a keen financial mind and is poised to take over the business someday – and he has a beautiful and loving wife named Ellen (Susan Sarandon). However, beneath the surface his life is governed by deceit: A seemingly foolproof investment in a Russian copper mine has been hobbled by political unrest, and now his fund is $400 million in the hole. Robert has been using creative bookkeeping and a loan from a colleague to cover the debt, and he’s hoping a sale to fellow financial whiz James Mayfield (Graydon Carter) will fill the gaps, pay his debts, and allow him to cash out and move on with his life. Read More...


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