Robert Miller (Richard Gere) on the surface has it all, a billion dollar business, loving family, devoted wife, mistress half his age, and a home and lifestyle most would die for. But all this is about to change, during a important deal it seems that the financial status is just a front, and if this merger does not go through, he’ll be ruined. To top this off, a late night drive round the city with his mistress ends with Robert falling asleep at the wheel and killing her. Now he must save the merger, and remain hidden to the law in the death of his mistress, but it seems nobody wants to let him get away with anything.
Arbitrage has all the ingredients for a top movie, two of the worlds leading actors in the form of Richard Gere, and Susan Sarandon; a supporting cast that includes Tim Roth; and a killer storyline. But this is where it ends, somewhere in the execution things go a little bit wrong, and what could be the thriller of the year, transforms into a made for TV afternoon movie.
The momentum is kept going through the first portion of the movie, with Robert juggling lies, and spinning cash, and relationships to cover up for his wrong-doings. But as the movie slips into it’s second act, it suddenly all goes a little flat. The action moves from something quite big, to a small indictment situation involving Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), who Robert calls upon to help cover the crime of manslaughter. The delivery of this indictment is about as riveting as a courtroom case for shoplifting, and you never once get an impression of any real danger. At the same time, it seems that Robert is less interested in covering up evidence, and just plodding along in legal and financial wrangles.
Despite the criticism Richard Gere proves himself to be a most excellent actor, the one time highest paid actor on the planet, has spent the last ten years in some sort of B-movie (straight to DVD) limbo, but this flaw does not effect the quality of his work. Utterly convincing in every scene, Gere feels really natural in the role, and there is real chemistry towards his screen wife played by Sarandon, and Brit Marling who plays his onscreen daughter.
Reviews vary quite dramatically for Arbitrage, so this is a movie that definitely is worth your time, we are after all, not all the same. But for this reviewer, the movie never breaks into a sweat, and leaves you cold as the potential excitement, trickles downstream like pooh sticks on a calm day.