Richard Gere is a much underrated performer. True, he has starred in some utter rubbish, but he has a much greater range than people give him credit for. His role in writer/director Nicholas Jareki’s Arbitrage ranks alongside films such as Primal Fear, Internal Affairs, and Brooklyn’s Finest as vintage Gere.
As troubled hedge fund magnate Robert Miller, Gere doesn’t exactly mine new ground in this pseudo-Faustian tale of gaining the world but losing one’s soul. However, his performance raises the film well above average. The plot involves Miller trying to cover up his involvement in a fatal car crash that occurs just as he is trying to sell his company; a deal that involves illegal accounting shenanigans that could easily end up with him being charged with fraud. As an increasingly intricate web of lies is spun, Miller seems to find a way out of his predicament, but the cost could well be those nearest to him.
Gere is well supported by the likes of Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Nate Parker and Tim Roth. Furthermore, Jareki has crafted a gripping piece of work that doesn’t rely on an intricate knowledge of the money markets, but plays on the universal human tendency to lie and cover up. Themes of greed are nothing new, but with recent economic problems still very much in the public consciousness, the film is also as good an example as I can think of lately proving the Biblical adage that the love of money is the root of all evil.
In short, whilst Arbitrage occupies similar territory to the recent Margin Call and less recent films like Wall Street, it still feels fresh and dramatic, thanks largely to Richard Gere’s excellent performance.