Arbitrage – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

bankArbitrage – 4/5 – Diamond in the rough; is a statement that holds true in many aspect of life.  When it comes to films, there is no exception to this rule.  I watch a lot of films, but sometimes there are some that get lost in the shuffle, and it takes me some time to get around to watching them.  Through all the bad films I might come across, I always like finding random gems when I go to a local video store or the movies.  Here is a blu-ray release that I picked up, on a hunch that it might be good.  Not only was the film good, but it is a great character piece.  In Arbitrage, we have a sophisticated web of lies and deceit, gently wrapped into the blindness of public perception.  This is a great movie.

Premise: Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is a very successful financial businessman.  Along with his business, he has a loving wife (Susan Sarandon) and a smart daughter (Brit Marling) ready to step into her father’s shoes.  As the business approaches its height in a blockbuster transaction, Miller’s illegal fraudulent activities start to be uncovered.  To add fuel to the fire, his personal secrets take a turn for the worse, causing a death to someone close to him.  As his life spirals out of control, Miller must find a way to survive, even if he has to delve into more lies that may hurt in the end.

As mentioned in the prologue, the film is a very strong character piece.  At the center of all of this is Robert Miller, who is played by Richard Gere.  In this role, Gere gives a brilliant performance.  In portraying a modern day business man with secrets, he provides someone who has cunningness and intellect, which is combined with a dark scheming mentality.  As the movie starts off, the facade of a ‘perfect family’ shows what he strives to live for.  Once everything starts to happen in his life, and those ‘secrets’ come to the forefront, you witness how these lies give him the strength to win.  In this irony, Gere give’s a character who is dire in these complexities, but shows his charms when times become trite and true.  The layering he brings to Miller is marvelous, as he makes you root and despise him.  What also adds to the complexion of Robert Miller is the supporting cast.  In the cast, you have his wife (Susan Sarandon) his daughter (Brit Marling) a loyal friend (Nate Parker) and a vigilant cop (Tim Roth) to name a few.  In these characters, they help add to both sides of the coin for who is Robert Miller.  They help show you a family side that seems dreamy and pure (in the wife and daughter), but also adds to the visceral side of his dueling nature (in his loyal friend and the cop).  The wife knows about his dealing and his affairs, which creates a subtle dynamic to how perception isn’t always true.  The unraveling relation of the father/daughter dynamic adds a different flavor, and helps create a flaw to bother those characters.  When it comes to the friend and the cop, they add intrigue and interest to his darker secrets.  As these four interact with Miller, it helps draw precision to a complicated web of what makes people who they are, and what they will do to succeed.  With these four, you have great acting and line delivery.  This helps you feel for the characters and bring an appreciating to the ‘down to earth’ reflection that is created.

The direction is one I enjoy, which is a character piece.  The story revolves around one character and his trials and tribulations of living and running a big business.  What this story helps bring is that behind every facade of success are secrets.  With being a strong character pieces, you have multiple layers that have to be brought to the screen to be explained.  As the movie starts off, you are first witness to the business transaction.  On the surface, this deal seems to lead as a positive to both parties involved.  As things begin to come out of the ‘other sides’ of the business, you watch as everyone becomes affected by this news.  Once news starts to come out, people begin to choose sides.  The emotional tones are invoked with strong interactions and a great script.  This helps us be entertained by how a business transaction may go down in everyday life.  Outside of this main storyline, you have the outside affair, which leads to a murder mystery.  When the murder happens, you begin to wonder, alongside the business storyline, will the real culprit be punished.  With this web of collateral, affairs, drama and investigation, you can have a movie filled with boring subplots or missing plot threads.  Thankfully, the director does a good job in given both storylines screen time, and develops them in a way where both become one deep, engrossing plot.  The rawness in the character interaction, as well as emotional overtones brought through the script and the lighting of scenes helps invoke certain moods and level out the tone of the direction.  This brings a feeling of awe in its impression.  When the climax happens, the facade comes full circle, as lies becomes truth and the feeling of accomplishment isn’t always as good as it seems.

The visuals are very tantalizing, but kept very simple.  You have the modern day world, created through a delicate use of common people and high leveled millionaires through apparel and environment.  You feel a part of this ‘everyday’ life, even in the deception being built.  The score was very low key, but when dire situations happen, the long eerie trauma created by the sound helps invoke the ‘thrill’ and ‘entertaining’ to the drama that is surrounding the characters.

Overall, Arbitrage is a very deeply, invoking character piece.  In the complexion of the business worlds, we have a look at the lies created, the deception built, and the links that may be created or broken by the ultimate dealing of money and greed.  Great acting from Richard Gere, as this character is weaved precisely the web of this dark story.  If you’re into dialogue driven films, with great characters, this is one for you.  I’d say it’s worth the purchase on Blu-Ray, and a great addition to your film collection.

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