ARBITRAGE – Review by Susan Granger

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In this contemporary financial thriller, 60 year-old New York hedge-fund manager Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is about to make the deal of a lifetime – and retire in rarefied elegance. Problem is: he’s ‘borrowed’ $412 million dollars from a colleague to cover his assets and is betting that John Mayfield (Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter), representing the major bank that’s about to buy his trading firm, won’t catch on to how he’s cooked-the-books before the deal is done.

Struggling to hide his fraudulent duplicity from his daughter Brooke (Brit Marling), who happens to be his Chief Financial Officer, and his loyal, long-suffering wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon), Miller’s also having an affair with a French art-dealer, Julie Cote (former Victoria’s Secret model Laetetia Casta), who, inconveniently, dies in an automobile accident, implicating Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), the son of Miller’s chauffeur. That arouses the suspicion of sleazy NYPD Detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth), who knows Jimmy’s not guilty but is using his vulnerability as leverage to get to a Wall Street tycoon like Miller.

Inspired by a series of 2010 Vanity Fair articles: “The Great Hangover: 21 Tales of the New Recession,” it is astutely written and directed as a debut feature by Nicholas Jarecki, who questions the ethics of our time, pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior to avoid moral and financial bankruptcy. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Nicholas Jarecki’s father is Manhattan philanthropist Henry Jarecki.

Silver-haired Richard Gere is perfectly cast as the charming, sophisticated billionaire who has always used his immense wealth to ruthlessly manipulate people and ‘buy’ whatever he wants. Entitlement comes naturally to him, just as being a predatory benefactor has become his way of life. But then comes the market crash – and he’s suddenly caught in a bind, having made a stupid, irresponsible investment in a copper mine in Russia. To his credit, Gere manages to have the audience realizing his culpability yet rooting for him at the same time.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Arbitrage” is a savvy 7, slick and suspenseful.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.