Arbitrage (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Arbitrage</strong> (2012)

(On-demand Video, December 2012) Richard Gere turns in one of his best performances in recent memory here as a rich businessman with problems that grow bigger as the film advances: a mistress that gets killed, a bad investment that turns into fraud, tense family relationship that combust as everything else goes on.  As a concept, Arbitrage is neither original nor gripping: we’ve seen this material countless times before.  The twists and turns are familiar until the cynical ending, but even that seems ordinary in a world used to Wall Street duplicity.  Still, the film itself is competently made, there are modest thrills in the details of the story and not enough good things can be said about Gere’s performance as a man able of the best as well as the worst.  Despite the familiar subject matter, Arbitrage becomes compelling viewing: We can’t wait to see Gere either get his punishment or his escape, and this conflicted character study is probably the film’s chief appeal.  Plus, it all takes place in the pleasant upper-crust of New Yrok City, offering another chance to live vicariously in an upper-class playground: Arbitrage also works well as an acid reminder that the rules don’t really apply the same way to the rich as they do to the poor: money can buy almost anything, including virtue. 

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