Arbitrage follows the sudden deterioration of Robert Miller, as a father, husband and businessman. As the story unfolds, we see Miller’s health, happiness, safety and success collapse steadily. Richard Gere gives a typically wooden performance, although there are several powerful moments delivered amongst the stilted mess that is the other hour and a half. I never find him believable and am always left with the impression that he is relying far too heavily upon the script which, in many cases, is noticeably weak. The script of Arbitrage was no exception but luckily this film is carried by its perfectly paced story and its superb direction. Arbitrage provides thorough entertainment for an hour and forty five minutes but there is nothing else on offer here. The characters are incredibly transparent and if it wasn’t for the film’s slick progression they would have become intolerable.
Susan Sarandon was thoroughly convincing and gave the film as much personality and depth as possible, despite the film’s limits. Gere was at his best when their characters, husband and wife, collided. Tim Roth fitted perfectly into his role as the stereotypically twisted detective, driving the plot forward. Despite the film’s flaws, the ability to create an entertaining piece of cinema around such unpleasant individuals is admirable, the likes of which is seen in Wall Street and The Game. Perhaps my personal problem with Richard Gere stems from my inability to accept that he is not Michael Douglas.
If you disregard this film’s lack of believability and charisma, there is a lot to enjoy within Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage. By ignoring the film’s blatant continuity issues and plot holes, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the film and the story it was telling. Arbitrage could have easily become irritating and uninteresting if it was not for Jarecki’s impressive direction and use of pace. Arbitrage reminded me that there is nothing wrong with a bit of trashy entertainment, every now and then.
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