A troubled hedge fund magnate, desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire, makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.
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A better film than Bonfire of the Vanities, which had a similar theme, Arbitrage has enough suspense to make it a worthwhile 100 minutes. If you expect to learn anything useful about arbitrage, forget it, 'cause you won't. If you are a fan of "Pawn Stars," you will enjoy some similarities in the negotiation scene. It was good to see the wonderful Stuart Margolin in the role of Gere's attorney Syd Felder.
"Arbitrage" is the simultaneous buying and selling of a security at two different prices in two different markets, resulting in profits without risk." It is NOT illegal and this film does NOT address "arbitrage".
Predictably, the successful capitalist is untoward, manipulative, earning his ill-gotten wealth, not by skill and ingenuity but subterfuge, fraud. Devastatingly handsome Richard Gere is "Robert Miller" the "master of the universe" , the "rainmaker", the hedge-fund king whose "Midas touch" is in jeopardy of turning bronze; Gere imbues the character with enough smarmy charm and sagacity to captivate the viewer. Reminiscent of "Bonfire of the Vanities" an adulterous affair could result in his undoing; nevertheless a streak of the humane saves "Robert" from drowning in moral turpitude.
A solid supporting cast lend a fragment of legitimacy to "Arbitrage": Susan Sarandon is "Ellen Miller" the fund-raising, feisty philanthropist, "turning a blind eye" to Robert's indiscretions; a wife, not to be taken for granted but to be leery of; Brit Marling portrays Robert's daughter "Brooke", bright, naive CFO of the soon to be sold Miller empire; the destruction of her idealism was forecast from the commencement of the scenario. It is the performance of Nate Parker , as the ex-con "Jimmy Grant", who rescues Robert from a catastrophic collision that gifts the film a level of dignity, integrity; his steely character, true grit, loyalty and obstinacy earn "Arbitrage" an extra star.
In conclusion, there were too many discrepancies. Whose car was involved in the accident? Why did the writers, director misinterpret the true meaning of "arbitrage"? In the myriad of millionaires, are there any untainted, unscathed, free from illegal guise, graft? Any to be lauded, instead of maligned? If so, instead of being portrayed as evil, avaricious, lacking a moral compass, the blight of the middle class; how refreshing to concentrate on the few and mighty whose talents increase productivity, pay the bulk of tax revenues, empower their foundations to rescue the less fortunate; those who live and recognize "to whom much is given, much is expected"; whether documentary, fable or fiction it would be an interesting diversion from the ubiquitous doses of "the capitalist rogue".
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!