Select Page

Robert Miller is having a bad week. The hedge fund magnate is trying to sell his company before investors find out that he’s misappropriated some cash and the buyer is ducking his calls. While trying to relax with his girlfriend, she is killed in a car accident, and the cover-up is proving to be a challenge. His wife seems to know about the affair and his daughter, the company’s Chief Financial Officer is on the verge of finding out about the missing money. Can Miller get it all sorted out before he gets arrested for fraud or manslaughter? And will he lose the love and respect of his whole family?

It’s rare that good, tense thrillers come along ““ especially those without a guy in a mask with a knife. Director Nicholas Jarecki’s first feature film is just that. Pulling together a stellar cast of Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth and Brit Marling, the film throws a lot of balls in the air, dealing with each one as it slowly tumbles towards the ground.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the film is watching Richard Gere play his own age. While a number of his contemporaries have been doing so for some time (including his partner in this film, Susan Sarandon), making the shift from dashing leading man to slightly older dashing leading man hasn’t been easy for him. This role, however, is a step in the right direction, bringing together all of his strengths.

The film has a few uneven points, and the viewer’s patience is occasionally tested when a character does something seemingly ill advised, but the loose ends are tied and the plot points make sense in the end. The most interesting thing about the film, however, is actually the duplicity placed on the audience. When it comes to the problems of the rich, most of us aren’t that sympathetic these days and casting Gere, an extremely likable actor, in a role that is very complex and human, was undoubtedly the right choice. It puts the viewer in the position of moral judgment, which feels both indulgently good and terrible at the same time. Assessing you own feelings about this film is where it will really succeed.

Is Arbitrage opening weekend worthy?

If you are a fan of the thriller genre and are hankering to get out to a theatre, then this is definitely great entertainment. If you’re soft on the genre, or are on the fence about spending the cash, by all means wait for the DVD. There’s no rush on this one.

MORE FROM TORONTO FILM SCENE