Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Arbitrage (Rhoades)

“Arbitrage” Doubles Down
As Wall Street Thriller

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

In economics, arbitrage is the technique of simultaneously purchasing and selling of an asset in order to profit from the price differential. Picture that old image of a financial guy sitting behind his desk with a telephone glued to each ear, shouting, “Buy! Sell!”
Richard Gere plays such a wheeler-dealer in “Arbitrage,” a new film about a troubled hedge fund manager who is forced to turn to an unlikely person for help after bungling a trade.
Susan Sarandon (“Robot & Frank”) co-stars as his society wife, a woman onto her husband’s affair with a younger woman.
Nate Parker (“Red Tails”) is the innocent young associate who gets pulled into this Wall Street cover-up. And Tim Roth (“Reservoir Dogs”) is the police detective out to nail the errant hedge fund manager.
We’ll keep in mind that hedge fund managers were the villains in Oliver Stone’s recent “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”
In “Arbitrage,” 25-year-old director-writer Nicholas Jarecki builds on that theme. A graduate of NYU’s film school, Jarecki has directed several music videos and commercials. And he wrote a book titled “Breaking In: How 20 Film Directors Got Their Start.” This is his first narrative feature film.
“Arbitrage” – currently playing at the Tropic Cinema – has been described as “a good adultery thriller, just like the classic ones from the 80’s.” Richard Gere (“Pretty Woman,” “Chicago”) calls it the “dark side of power and influence, definitely a look at New York.”
The star adds, “We could have made this guy more of a Bernie Madoff, a sociopath. The decision we all made pretty early on was to make this guy resonate with the moral and ethical bad choices that we all make constantly. Certainly not to the degree this guy does in our story, but we all shave the edges of things.”
An example? “Look,” says Gere, “I’m still reeling with this thing that was in the New York Times … that $1 billion that was lost in that fund that Jon Corzine ran in New Jersey. The courts just found there was no criminal lawsuit to come out of that, no indictment. It's just gone; it’s nobody’s fault. A billion dollars, just gone. No accounting for it, no indictment.”
Will Richard Gere’s character in “Arbitrage” be so lucky? Well, remember that definition of arbitrage – playing both ends against the middle and coming out a winner.

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