Richard Gere’s latest starring vehicle is not the first thriller ever centered on the business world. But it is a well written and equally well acted performance. Writer/director Nicholas Jarecki’s script moves at a pace that is just enough to keep the attention of his intended audiences throughout the near two hour course of the story. Jarecki makes things even better both for himself and for audiences as his script doesn’t allow itself to get bogged down in a bunch of technical business jargon and unnecessary extraneous drama that would have otherwise caused audiences to want to fast forward through its near two-hour run time. A look at any other movie based in the business world shows how far too many movies within this sub genre get too serious about themselves, and thus lose their audiences as a result. Jarecki hasn’t done that here. Rather he’s made a movie that’s both believable and accessible to audiences because he has managed to find the just right balance between story and acting. Speaking of acting, veteran actor Richard Gere shines in the story’s lead role of high powered businessman, Robert Miller.
Gere’s acting goes a long way toward making Arbitrage a success. He shows his veteran chops yet again here, expertly interpreting the script as he worked with Jarecki. The script’s strong writing and equally strong acting both on the part of Gere and his co-stars help the near two-hour movie proceed smoothly without slipping up save perhaps for the story’s final moments. It is the final moments of the story that might leave some audiences scratching their heads as it ends somewhat abruptly. That aside, the rest of the story keeps audiences fully engaged. Getting back to the acting, in what seems like a career comprised mainly of rom-coms and romantic dramas, it’s nice to see Gere step up to the plate and take on a more serious role again. He both has the look and the persona to have taken on Miller’s role. His take on Miller really does its part to pull viewers in and make the story believable. This is especially the case as co-star Susan Sarandon does very little to help move the story, despite her star status. In her defense though, she isn’t really utilized very much in the course of the story.
The crux of Arbitrage rests in what happens to high powered businessman Robert Miller (Richard Gere) after a series of events is set in motion that nearly push him to the brink. After accidentally causing the death of his mistress in a wreck, he is pursued by the police. Given, this is a tried and true plot. It’s been used in different fashions time and again. But it still manages to work in this case. To make matters worse for Miller, his unethical and somewhat illegal financial dealings lead to even more problems for him. Though it seems like that element becomes secondary to the investigation surrounding the death of Miller’s mistress. Miller’s story is not the first of its kind brought to the big screen. But there’s no denying that despite the story’s abrupt ending and other minor issues, it makes for one of Gere’s best performances in ages next to perhaps that of his work in The Mothman Prophecies. It’s no surprise that it has garnered Gere a Golden Globe nomination for his acting. The only question left is will he take home the trophy. And for that matter will it be enough to garner him an Oscar nod, too? That’s all anyone’s guess. Nonetheless, his acting alone is enough to make Arbitrage a movie worth at least one watch from 2012.
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