Richard Gere gives blue-chip performance in Arbitrage

Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon

Arbitrage, directed by Nicholas Jarecki
Opens in cinemas from November 1

Arbitrage – it’s the easiest way to make money. Just take advantage of a price difference between two or more markets. And if you can manipulate them you can make even more. But if it goes wrong it does so disastrously.

US ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, who embezzled billions of dollars, is probably a good example of what happens when things go wrong, and we have a few local examples as well.

It is assumed by most people and the media that those who attempt to make money by subterfuge are crazed, immoral and financially illiterate. But they are usually none of these.

They are trying to make money for their company, their investors and themselves. They are probabaly decent moral people but when things go wrong and their moral base shifts they have to respond, and admitting moral and financial liability is not where they go.

In Nicholas Jarecki’s new film Arbitrage the term takes on a wider a meaning as New York hedge fund manager Robert Miller deals with financial and personal crises in his life. Playing with money can be dodgy but playing with lovers can be dangerous.

On the eve of his 60th birthday, Miller (Richard Gere) is the portrait of success in American business and family life. But behind the walls of his elegant mansion, he is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed.

Just as he is about to unload his troubled empire, an unexpected event forces him to juggle family, business and crime with the aid of Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), a young black man from Miller's past.

And an unfortunate error has alerted suspicions NYPD detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth), who is ruthless in his pursuit of the guilty.

Running on borrowed time, Miller is forced to confront his relationship with his wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and daughter Brooke (Brit Marling), as well as acknowledging the limits of his own moral duplicity.

Richard Gere’s performance is impeccable in presenting a character you are both drawn to and repelled by. He is a good man who has slipped into foreign territory, desperate to save himself, his family and his reputation.

Susan Sarandon and Brit Marling give superbly restrained performances as wife and daughter coming to terms with a man they thought they knew, while Nate Parker as his unwilling accomplice comes to terms with the murky worlds of finance and the justice system.

The film highlights the power of money and position as forces that can both cushion the impacts of an imploding life as well as exacerbate them, revealing the reality of compromise when faced with a blurred moral landscape.

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