The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Arbitrage | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Arbitrage

Directed by: Nicholas Jarecki
Starring: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Tim Roth, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker

New York magnate Gere flees the scene of an accident and calls in help from the son of a deceased employee, Parker.
Money is one of the few things you can only truly understand when you don't have it. It's the driving force behind the world, the key to our survival. We spend it and worry about it on a daily basis. Strange then how rarely it's addressed in the movies, especially in these harsh times. This could be because, like Gere's character here, the people who get movies made don't understand the dramatic potential of a bank account in the red.
Gere is certainly not the hero of the film, but he's the central character. He's become very rich through his hedge fund business which hasn't been run entirely above board. At the start of the film we think the plot will focus on his attempts to sell the firm without having it's irregularities discovered by his suspicious daughter Marling. Twenty minutes in things take a twist as Gere causes an accident and flees the scene, leaving a corpse behind him. He phones Parker, the one person he feels trustworthy, who drives him home. Parker has owed him a favor since Gere used his influence to get him off a drug charge.
The movie's big mistake is to focus on Gere from this point. His multi-millionaire is pretty despicable but that's never stopped us rooting for a character before. When Norman Bates pushes Marion Cranes car into the river and it appears not to sink, we're not thinking "Great, he's not going to get away with this", we're thinking "Damn, he's not going to get away with this". The problem here is that we never truly believe Gere is in much trouble. He himself barely breaks a sweat as the cops, led by grizzled detective Roth, hound him. On the other hand Parker, being a young black working class male, we're much less confident of. Had he been the central character it may have been a far more involving story.