A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.
An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities changing dramatically after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations.
Robert Miller is a successful financial businessman with a loving wife and a smart daughter ready to take over the family business. Professional secrets involving illegal fraudulent activities start coming out at the same time that Robert's personal secrets take a turn for the worse and threaten to derail everything he has achieved. Written by
Brit Marling, who plays Robert Miller's daughter and Chief Investment Officer, has direct experience of the finance world from a summer internship she once undertook at Goldman Sachs Investment Bank. See more »
When Robert returns home after the accident he goes to bed and he is asked by his wife where he went. He reply "What?" but you can see that his mouth is not moving. See more »
But you took a huge bet on the housing crisis in the middle of the biggest boom in housing anybody has ever seen. Why?
I'm a child of the '50s. My father welded steel for the Navy, and my mother worked at the V.A. They lived through the Depression, Pearl Harbor, and the bomb. They didn't think that bad things might happen. They knew that bad things would happen.
Is that what's happening now?
When I was a kid, my favorite teacher was Mr. James. Mr. James said world events all ...
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We're just now starting to get into the meat of the "awards films" for 2012, but the year has already presented several pictures that deserve significant acclaim. One of those films is Arbitrage, from first-time feature director Nicholas Jarecki. Jarecki's small resume up to this point was a little questionable, his only previous feature writing credit being the hollow adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' The Informers, but here he writes and directs with a skill that he had not been able to come close to demonstrating to this point. He displays real potential as an emerging filmmaker, taking on the timely story of a hedge fund magnate whose bad karma comes full circle as several errors start to come crashing down on him all at once.
Taking on the central role of Robert Miller is Richard Gere, with the silver fox utilizing all of the charm and likability that he made his career on and giving a performance that I dare say is the finest of his decades long career. This is the kind of performance that an actor of his age dreams of giving, a feat worthy of the accolades that this season runs rampant with, as he gives this character the depth that the story demands. Arbitrage could have easily fallen into the open potential to attack the 1%, beating the horse into the ground with every drop of "look how horrible you are" aggression that this country is brimming with in its current economic state, but instead Jarecki and Gere take on the more challenging approach of portraying Miller as a real human being.
This isn't a guy who is doing the wrong things and laughing his greedy way to the top. He knows that he is making mistakes and hurting people, but he truly believes that the ends justify the means and that makes it all even more disturbing when you see him try to explain his actions as his world comes crumbling down. A majorly profitable business deal coincides with an accident involving his extra-marital lover, and all of the selfish deeds that Miller has been profiting from personally and financially are threatening to come into the light.
As the efforts of his intelligent business partner daughter (the wise and daggered Brit Marling) and the detective investigating the death of his lover (the dogged and determined Tim Roth) begin to weigh on his nerves, Miller begins a desperate scramble to piece his life together before he has to pay the price for his misconduct. Jarecki's direction sizzles off the screen, pacing his film with remarkable ease and fluidity from one moment to the next. There's never a scene that feels out of place or unnecessary, a rare gift for a film, especially one coming from a first timer.
Gere's phenomenal performance takes center stage in all of its surprising humanity and towering intimidation, but everyone in the cast is able to shine from one moment to the next. Roth and Marling excel, as does Susan Sarandon as Miller's wife and special attention must be given to Nate Parker, who portrays the son of a former associate of Miller's who he turns to when he needs a favor. Parker's character is the ultimate representation of the kind of pain that Miller's selfish actions can cause the innocent people he never thinks twice about, and the performance from Parker reflects that suffering in a remarkably effective manner. In a film loaded with the corrupt and greedy, Parker portrays one of the few genuinely good-hearted souls and seeing the needless anguish that Miller's selfishness places upon him is absolutely tragic thanks to his performance.
Jarecki's Arbitrage never takes the easy way out in condemning its central figure, but builds him as a fully-fleshed human being who is portrayed with great precision by an actor who has long gone underrated. It's a shame that Gere likely won't be getting much awards attention for this performance, because he more than deserves to hear his name called on Oscar nomination morning. Still, awards aren't the ultimate justification of quality in film and his work here, along with the film overall, stands as a bright point in a long career and an impressive year in film so far.
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