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(2012)

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8/10
Of the Rarest Type of Thriller
Simon_Says_Movies29 September 2012
Arbitrage is one of the rarest thrillers around today – a morality tale that propels its gripping story through poor character choices and the ensuing aftermath rather than left-field twists and pointless action. The complexity of the characters on display in director Nicolas Jarecki's feature debut (and the fine actors who bring them to life) are fascinating to behold and deliciously infuriating in the way that the script forces you to rationalize on their behalf, even when they perpetrate some of the worst crimes imaginable.

The plot of Arbitrage is at its core very basic, but from that seemingly simplistic foundation springs forth a disastrous series of errors of near Shakespearian proportion, ultimately avoidable as they all turn out to be. We first meet with hedge fund manager Robert Miller as he hounds his subordinate to track down the CEO of a rival corporation for a final authorizing signature that will conclude the sale of his firm. Unbeknownst to everyone but him and his accountant, Miller has committed fraud and cooked the books to hide a disastrous investment in a Russian copper operation. Through this sale he can more than cover his losses and retire a multi-millionaire, but after another mistake (this time on a far more personal level) his transgressions at work pale in comparison.

It is through Gere's remarkable performance that we come to sympathize with a man who is not only a liar and a fraud that uses those he loves and dispose of those he needs without a second thought, but who also descends into something far worse: a murderer (at least in the eyes of the law). However, we can see deep down he loves his family, will right all financial wrongs with the sale of his business without anyone being hurt and mostly had non-malicious intentions when fleeing the scene of his crime. We become so caught up in this character's predicament and the world in which he thrives is so equally callous and ugly he comes off as part saint despite being everything an average person despises – he is the one percent and essentially rides above the law.

Having given up his mantle of A-list leading man some time ago, Gere, instead of rushing headfirst into subpar roles that would keep him somewhat in the spotlight, has become a superb actor in his own right choosing interesting projects from The Hoax to The Hunting Party. His performance in Arbitrage is perhaps his best work ever, exuding charisma, spewing malice and emanating explosive energy at the perfect junctures. Jarecki's script and Gere's work is the perfect marriage of actor and material.

The supporting cast is equally superb. Susan Sarandon does a great deal with limited screen time as Robert's wife, as does Brit Marling as his daughter and unofficial partner at the firm. Tim Roth does his evil thing without missing a beat as a determined and justice-blurring cop (though his accent slips a few times) and relative unknown Nate Parker as a past connection of Robert's who plays an pivotal (and emotionally potent) role in the deception does scene-stealing work.

Conjointly as is the case with ludicrous revelations and senseless violence, in most thrillers a last-act imposition occurs, stripping any good will that may have been awarded and leaving nothing but a sour taste. Arbitrage has a perfect – perfect – ending and is immediately preceded with two fascinating examinations of character in both Miller's wife and the buyer of his firm. The overarching theme amongst these catharses is that money rules all, but the execution and timing of both comes off as nothing close to hollow.

It is easy to fathom certain viewers being bored or put off by the deliberate pacing and stylistic choices Arbitrage makes, but that is no fault of this tense and involving film but rather of the spoiled, ADD generation that can't make it through 100 minutes of cinema without multiple shootouts, riveting as it all is. As the antidote to bland Hollywood white-knuckle escapism, Arbitrage is the sublime archetype, substantive and lasting and proving that smarts and dedicated performers can drive a compelling narrative.
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7/10
"Dense, multifaceted and reverent..."
Sindre Kaspersen8 April 2013
American screenwriter, producer and director Nicholas Jarecki' feature film debut which he wrote, premiered in the Premieres section at the 28th Sundance Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in New York City, USA and is an American production which was produced by producers Laura Bickford, Justin Nappi, Kevin Turen and Robert Salerno. It tells the story about a very successful business man named Robert Miller who lives with his wife named Ellen and who manages a private investment fund called Miller's Capital which he is in negotiations about selling.

Distinctly and precisely directed by American filmmaker Nicholas Jarecki, this finely tuned fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the protagonist's point of view, draws a riveting portrayal of an American man who shortly after having turned 60-years-old gets himself into a situation which jeopardizes his relationship with his wife, their daughter named Brooke and the future of his company. While notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, fine production design by production designer Beth Mickle and cinematography by cinematographer Yurick Le Saux, this character-driven and narrative-driven story depicts a refined study of character.

This conversational, incisive and at times humorous crime drama which is set in New York City where a capitalist tries to make his way out of a serious predicament whilst being chased by a driven NYPD detective named Michael Bryer, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, the magnificent acting performances by American actor Richard Gere and English actor Tim Roth and the fine acting performances by actor Nate Parker and American actresses Brit Marling and Susan Sarandon. A dense, multifaceted and reverent thriller.
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8/10
Very good 80's style thriller
RolyRoly14 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a sucker for a good adultery thriller, just like the classic ones from the 80's, and this one doesn't disappoint. The premise here is pretty familiar: rich New York tycoon is having an affair with a younger woman, he has business troubles and then his dalliance goes horribly wrong at the worst possible time. The plot, especially, the corporate shenanigans, can stretch credibility, but the film is sufficiently well written that the holes in the storyline don't really get in the way.

What distinguishes Arbitrage is the superb acting. Susan Sarandon is, as always, right in character as the society wife who knows more than you think, but in the end has her own set of priorities. Britt Marling plays the daughter who aspires to build her own career only to be forced to confront disillusionment in the "real world" and make some tough choices. Richard Gere, as Robert Miller, is the epitome of a Wall Street "master of the universe" whose finely balanced life is on the verge of collapse. Much has been written about the psychology of self-destruction that leads someone in power (almost invariably male) to risk so much for so little. Gere captures that mindset beautifully. Nate Parker is the black kid, whose father has a history with the family, and whom Miller shamelessly embroils in the mess that he has created. Parker gives a great performance. Finally, Tim Roth is outstanding as the NYPD detective who is sick and tired of the big Wall Street guys escaping justice and is desperate to nail Gere - too desperate as it turns out.

Arbitrage is slick, American filmmaking that delivers on what it promises. No more, but no less.
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7/10
The Silver Fox is Slippery
David Ferguson16 September 2012
Greetings again from the darkness. Most of us don't tread in the world of corporate greed, deceit and fraud that defines the now four years ago financial crisis. Twenty five years ago Gordon Gekko in Wall Street put a face to corporate greed. Writer/Director Nicholas Jarecki now gives us Robert Miller, as portrayed by Richard Gere, for the face of Wall Street fraud ... the step beyond greed that Bernie Madoff made famous. Toss in a Chappaquiddick-type tragedy and it's abundantly clear that Robert Miller is no modern day saint.

No matter how much we would prefer it to be otherwise, there is something to the charisma and emotional power of the few who seize control as politicians, CEO's and cult leaders ... all subjects of recent films. During this film, we never once doubt that Gere's Miller is a scam artist with power. He is not a good guy, despite his warm smile as he says all the right things to his family and close circle of advisors. We are sickened that he is able to fool so many. Yet, the reason this story is so familiar is that it rings so true.

Watching Miller's house of cards slowly crumble is both fascinating and nerve-racking. We aren't rooting for him, but we still get caught up in his web of deceit. His demented sense of "responsibilities" guide him down the path of betrayal ... a path that stomps on his all-knowing wife, his ultra-trusting daughter, his sensitive mistress, and a young guy just trying to get his life in order.

The supporting cast is strong led by Susan Sarandon as the wife, Brit Marling (Another Earth) as the daughter, and Tim Roth as the crusty NY Detective trying to catch the big fish. However, this is Gere's film and he delivers his best in years. It's also great to see Stuart Margolin, who was so entertaining as Angel in The Rockford Files back in the 70's. Another interesting casting choice has long time "Vanity Fair" editor Graydon Carter as the head of the financial institution looking to purchase Miller's company.

Again, the individual pieces of the story are all quite familiar, but filmmaker Jarecki does a nice job of assembling the pieces in a manner that keep us engaged. It's a nice example of how the rules are different for the rich, and show how the worst of them even think they can get away with murder! (www.MovieReviewsFromTheDark.wordpress.com)
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7/10
Gere Maximizes His Coolish Screen Persona in a Machiavellian Character-Driven Thriller
Ed Uyeshima3 November 2012
It seems quite a letdown that Richard Gere's impressive performance in this handsomely mounted 2012 thriller has been relegated to On Demand, but the same fate befell 2011's "Margin Call", another effectively Machiavellian Wall Street-set thriller, probably because the mechanics of cutting big financial deals just doesn't feel all that cinematic despite being terrific showcases for able actors. With his trademark élan in check, he plays Robert Miller, a billionaire Wall Street investment executive whose silken imperturbable manner can charm and kill at the same time. Miller's company is in the middle of a federal audit as he tries to sell it. The problem is that he has illegally borrowed more than $400 million, well beyond the true value of the company. The lender threatens to take his money back, but Miller stops at nothing to keep the fraud under wraps, his family and the IRS in the dark, and his firm functioning more or less as usual.

Miller is simply unflappable no matter what the circumstance is, whether it's negotiating an unethical high financial deal, attending his 60th- birthday party, or spending a few tempestuous hours with his mistress, a French art gallery owner whose neediness makes Miller vulnerable to a moment of truth he cannot control. An unexpected event literally leaves blood on his hands, and a web of deception drops him further into an abyss. Instead of seeking absolution, Miller moves from chilly manipulation to unrepentant criminality. The evolution feels seamless because Miller never sees anything wrong with what he does, and first- time director Nicholas Jarecki does quite a capable job of maintaining the pace and momentum of an internally driven thriller that allows the main character to unravel in a series of dialogue-heavy scenes courtesy of Jarecki's insightful screenplay, an excellent sophomore effort (his first was co-writing 2008's "The Informers" with Bret Easton Ellis).

Although he was a last-minute replacement for Al Pacino (who would have brought an earthier dimension to the role), Gere is smartly cast here because his screen persona has often provided a glacial veneer over a seething core of anger and resentment. Playing Miller allows him to do just that in a most arresting manner that makes him both morally repellent but oddly sympathetic. As the detective intent on getting Miller convicted, Tim Roth is quite effective down to the Columbo-like inquisitiveness and Jersey Shore accent. Nate Parker brings unexpected depth as the moral center of the story, a Harlem kid whom Miller previously helped out of a jam but who now faces much bigger consequences returning the favor. Indie breakout Brit Marling ("Another Earth") affectingly plays Miller's sharply analytical daughter, the chief accountant of his firm who slowly realizes her father's true nature. Susan Sarandon has relatively few scenes as Miller's insulated wife Ellen, but her steely intelligence comes through in the climax. It's worth seeking out.
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7/10
Richard Gere Owns this one
Saad Khan10 October 2012
Arbitrage – CATCH IT (B+) Arbitrage is an interesting thriller New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere) on the eve of his 60th birthday; he appears the very portrait of success in American business and family life. But behind the gilded walls of his mansion, Miller is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed. Struggling to conceal his duplicity from loyal wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and brilliant daughter and heir-apparent Brooke (Brit Marling), Miller's also balancing an affair with French art-dealer Julie Cote (Laetetia Casta). Just as he's about to unload his troubled empire, an unexpected bloody error forces him to juggle family, business, and crime with the aid of Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), a face from Miller's past. Arbitrage has a very interesting concept, when you thought its only about the financial corruption, the movie takes a huge turn and we see a 60 years old man wounded juggling to control his financial status along with the crime he committed unintentionally. Richard Gere is phenomenal in Arbitrage; there isn't a moment when he surprises you with his brilliant performance. I have to say after a really long time I saw Richard Gere in a movie up to his caliber. Susan Sarandon is elegant and even though she doesn't have as many scenes as I would have wanted but still she impresses me as always. Brit Marling, the writer/director/actress of Another Earth is eloquent and stands tall in front of veterans like Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere. She was so good that I wanted to see more of her even though she was the most featured female among the cast. He NY central part scene with Richard Gere is simply amazing. I would love to see her soon in other movies. She is someone to watch out for in 2013. Laetitia Casta is gorgeous and Nate Parker did his part with utmost honesty. Even though I wanted to see the family dynamics of Robert Miller more but as it's a thriller they kept the movie short to emphasizes on more important matters. I had good time watching it. It's a good thriller.
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9/10
A Wonderful, Powerful Character Study
Bob_the_Hobo17 November 2012
"What's your price?" The question haunts Richard Gere's character of Robert Miller, a vain hedge fund manager married to Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and preparing to hand down his business dynasty to his daughter Brooke (Brit Marling). That is, until a freak accident with his mistress coincides with a self-perpetrating fraud scandal. Now confronted with unprecedented stress, Miller has to fight to keep his family and business intact.

Richard Gere's absence on the Oscar nomination stage for the entirety of his career will hopefully be ended with this stunning character study. Gere is in perfect form, personifying a complicated man who for once sees the results of his narcissistic actions. While his empire crumbles, his personal life goes the same way. Every scene Gere is in brings to light just how powerful an actor he is.

But an actor would be nothing without a powerful script. The author of the film's screenplay is also the film's director, Nicholas Jarecki, the co-author of the 2009 film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis film "The Informers". In his largest film yet, Jarecki keeps with themes of arrogance that comes with power. The script moves at a brisk pace, keeping your attention and leaving you nearly breathless once you've reached the conclusion.

Cinematography and setting blend easily into the background of these character's actions. New York City is brought to live, as she has countless times before, as the epicenter and culmination of the good and the bad. But what sets the screen apart from any other NYC-set film is the fact that nothing seems to be done to make NYC any more like NYC. The film's version of the city is exactly how it is in real life.

Susan Sarandon, still as beautiful as ever, steals her scenes as Miller's powerful wife. As does Brit Marling and especially Nate Parker, newcomers full of promise. The sole weak spot is, surprisingly, the performance of Tim Roth, the detective. His character starts the film with a Brooklyn-type accent. In his second scene Roth seems to attain his native Cockney accent, then lose it as the film progresses. He ends with a bizarre jumble of both.

"Arbitrage" is an intelligent, engaging thriller about the depths of bad decisions made from the arrogance of power. It is a must-see of the 2012 film season.
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7/10
A bit simplistic, but nevertheless a good movie
chrisgilbey14 October 2012
I read an interview with Richard Gere about this movie and saw that Susan Sarandon was in the same movie too and thought, "This has to be a good one..." It is OK, but its definitely not great. There is a lot of dramatic tension, but it seems like the script was dumbed down for the Hollywood mass market. Totally understand the rationale of the approach, but I think that, as a result, the movie fell short of being compelling.

When the English do this kind of movie, or the Europeans, what you get is dark tragic theatre. When the Americans try to do it, I think that they end up doing too much test marketing and as a result the movie suffers.

With the really serious depth of talent in the cast, you would have to think that there was much more that could have been put on the screen (and may have been on the cutting room floor for all I know).

There is one redeeming feature though. This movie does reveal a darkness, and offers a comment on the culture of today, of capitalism, of markets, of law etc... It doesn't pull any punches in that regard and that is a really good thing!
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8/10
Gere is great here
Arbitrage is the first motion picture by New York University graduate Nicolas Jarecki. It tells a story of magnate who almost fails in selling his own trading empire. But before that, he rules a huge family consisting of wife (Susan Sarandon), a son - who seems to be very unimportant person, so that director tells almost nothing about him and a daughter Brooke - skillful professional in business and probably the only person who's able to catch up with father's "mistakes". Robert also deals with young, passionate lover Julie.

But everything goes wrong when Julie dies in car accident when Robert was driving and Brooke finds his father in fraudulence.

Now Robert Miller has to struggle against two people: detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth) and his own daughter and none of them is going to step back.

I am not going to tell how well Gere's character manages this but I can definitely tell you that Richard, as an actor, did a great job. Possibly it's the best performance of his career. Anyone can name his memorable roles but this one is no doubt the best. He delivers an emotional, stressed and very precise acting and looks very natural which makes his work really brilliant.

But the best part of this movie is Nicolas Jarecki. It's not easy to write and direct the film at the same time, especially when it is your first time. He wrote a beautifully crafted script and transferred it professionally on the screen. The more you watch bigger the tension gets and you want to know whether it will end up in a good way. The writer has intelligently stuck surprising details throughout the story and that made whole movie more dynamic.

So, I found Arbitrage to be an attractive, smart and well produced movie and believe that it could be a perfect star for Nicolas's directing or writing career.
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7/10
Real good thriller, that is worth seeing.
Boba_Fett113817 September 2012
It had been a while since I had either seen Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon or Tim Roth in anything noteworthy but to my own surprise, this was being a solid thriller, with truly some great performances by its cast.

It is absolutely true that without its cast this would had been a very formulaic, standard, average, little thriller. As a matter of fact, it more feels like an extended "Law & Order" episode. The characters and developments aren't anything surprising but the movie truly gets made interesting by its cast, who also help to make this a convincing and effective thriller.

I have never even been a too big fan of Richard Gere but he simply was absolutely great in this! He mostly carries this entire movie and he does this by playing a sort of despicable character. So it's a real accomplishment by him that he still managed to turn the main character into a still likable enough one, that you never lost interest in. He doesn't make the right choices throughout the movie but that's what keeps his character interesting and helps to let the movie move along, even during its slower moments.

It's the sort of thriller in which everything starts to go from bad to worse for its main character, when his lies and actions only get him in more and deeper problems and drags those close to him down, along with him.

But really, it remains a far from perfect thriller and still does plenty of things wrong. It does a poor job at handling some of its characters for instance. For example, it heavily under uses the Susan Sarandon character, who could had given the movie a whole other dimension and some more depth with her character. After all, she plays the main character's wife, who has certain knowledge about things that don't come into play until very late into the movie, when things are already starting to wrap up. The whole dynamic between her and the Gere character had much more potential really and I thought it was a real shame this didn't get explored any further and better. Also, I would had loved to have seen more of Susan Sarandon, since she gave away a great performance.

That's a bit of a problem with this entire movie; it just doesn't know how to handle and what to do with certain characters. The Tim Roth character also definitely feels a bit underused. When he shows up you think he is going to play a big and important role for this movie but in fact there are large portions of the movie in which his character plays no role at all. I absolutely loved his scene with Richard Gere and I was hoping for more moments like that, which unfortunately just never came.

I still really enjoyed this thriller and at times was even loving it. It's definitely a better than average genre attempt, despite still having a very standard and familiar type of premise and story in it. So in essence, nothing surprising but it's all still very well made and acted out by its impressive cast, which already is worth the price alone.

7/10

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3/10
Too little reality
yoyodyne222227 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In a thriller there has to be a certain basis in reality for the viewer to be able to suspend disbelief.

First, the guy who loaned him the $400 mil... Why not just demand, or get offered, more return on the loan?

Next, there was trouble believing the relationship with the mistress. I kept asking what exactly was the attraction. Then they killed her off in one of the most bogus auto crashes I've seen on film.

Then he gets visited by the cop in his office. I'm doubting any detective could get in to see a billionaire without an appointment unless he had an arrest warrant.

What put it over the top was the lack of any semblance of reality in the legal proceedings. There is no way this all could have happened in the time stated. They had Jimmy in front of a Grand Jury in, what, 3 days after the incident?

The plot delivered one false point of conflict after another to artificially raise the tension level. It was just too unbelievable to carry the suspense.
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6/10
A movie where the hero is also the movie's main villain and who better than Richared Gere to play the role!
Hellmant21 December 2012
'ARBITRAGE': Three Stars (Out of Five)

A movie where the hero is also the movie's main villain and who better than Richared Gere to play the role. The film tells the story of a billionaire businessman (Gere) who is attempting to sell his company, while covering up it's massive losses, as well as avoid going to prison for vehicular manslaughter. It's another film that tries to present a vile human being as a relatable person. It co-stars Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth and Brit Marling and was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Nicholas Jarecki. The movie is aptly directed and well cast but it deals with such immoral behavior by it's central character that it's hard to like.

Gere plays Robert Miller, a hedge fund manager who lost his company huge sums of money on a big deal gone sour and is now trying to cover it up and sell the company before anyone know it's true value. He's married with two kids (that work for him at his company) but he also has a mistress, named Julie (Laetitia Casta), that he's constantly trying to please as well. When Julie is killed in a car accident, with him at the wheel, he flees the scene and involves an unwitting friend, Jimmy (Nate Parker), in covering up his involvement. A police detective (Roth) is on to him and threatens to send Jimmy to prison for over a decade if he doesn't cooperate. At the same time his daughter (Marling) is on to his business crimes and Robert has to deal with her as well.

The movie is an interesting crime film; it does definitely keep your attention. It's also very dark and cynical but that's not the problem I had with it. I don't mind movies that focus on bad people as long as they're portrayed that way but here it seems like the movie is still trying to send us the message that Miller is still a good guy. Credit definitely has to be given to Gere's performance because he does play the conflicted character well and he does make him seem almost relatable. We all justify and rationalize our actions in our own minds and I guess this movie does a good job of showing how Miller is still able to sleep at night. Still the things he does in the film are despicable and I can't give a completely positive review to something that almost seems to encourage immoral behavior. It's definitely well made and involving though.

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3/10
It's all a bit 'so what?' really
andybairsto29 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I've gone with Arbitrage this time – a film that has been touted as its headline star Richard Gere's best ever performance. This did rather draw me in – good job PR people. I'm really not a fan of Gere. In fact I must admit he would normally put me off a film – though not as much as Tom Hanks of course. But I went along with an open mind – promise. An open mind about him at least, not about the plot-line which in no way caught my imagination:

A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.

Still, at the very least I was promised performances by Susan Sarandon and Tim Roth if all else failed. I did say I had an open mind, right?

Gere plays Robert Miller, a wealthy New York CEO in the midst of a deal to sell his company. A man also in the throws of an extra-marital affair with a promising artist to whom he is benefactor also. But beneath the surface things aren't going well for Miller. It appears the deal is stalling and the funds borrowed to help secure it all are under threat, leaving the potential to ruin Miller and his family. Which of course takes its toll on those around him, and in particular, his bit on the side who, in recompense for his inattention, he decides to whisk away on a spur of the moment trip to an up-state love-nest. Poor Miller is stressed and tired, falls asleep at the wheel and crashes the car, killing the girl.

What he does next, of course, provides the intrigue for the rest of the film. He walks away and tries to cover up the crime in order to help prevent a situation that could jeopardise the sale of his company – what was he thinking! He calls on the son of a deceased former employee and Harlem resident Jimmy Parker (played admirably by Nate Parker) to help cover up his actions. Will he get away with it? Enter Tim Roth as terrier-like NYPD Detective Michael Bryer who, once he gets the scent of rich-guy cover-up, goes to great lengths to savage his suspect.

It's all a bit 'so what?' really. I don't know if this was Gere's finest performance or not. I'm guessing it wasn't so stand out even to its producers that it warranted an earlier release in the hope of winning him an Oscar (says cynical me). He puts in a good performance but this role and plot was hardly groundbreaking and while the piece overall just about kept my interest I was by no means captivated by any aspect of it. Susan Sarandon is woefully under-used in the first half of the film for such a fine actress but then the role never really offered much opportunity to surprise. Tim Roth is fine but, similarly to Sarandon, I felt any other number of actors could have played that part and offered up the same kind of performance.

I felt the part of the plot to use Jimmy Parker to cover Miller's trail was cliché and frankly left me a little uncomfortable. Really, is Hollywood still so dated in its attitudes as to have the only possible option for an accomplice to be a young black guy from Harlem with a criminal record whose association to Miller is as the son of a now deceased former worker (probably the office janitor) ? Oh. Yeah. Incidentally there were no other actors of colour in any significant role in the movie. And don't give me the line that 'yes, but this reflects true-life corporate America' because I don't believe that this is a valid reason to stick with out-dated and prejudiced stereotypes. Perhaps first-time full-length feature director Nicholas Jarecki lacks maturity to see this.

At the end you're left a little puzzled as to what has really transpired. Yes he was guilty. Does he get his comeuppance? I'll leave that unanswered so as not to ruin completely, suffice to say I'm not sure. Do we learn anything? Yeah. It's tough at the top. Boo-hoo!
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Gere is a fox for our times.
jdesando13 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The enjoyable thriller Arbitrage seems to promise a Margin-Call-like reminder of the dangerous Madoff-like gambling and ponziing in stock trading. It is much less than that, but in its own way it draws you in to a world of high finance where this time the people affected play a much larger part than computers and manipulative moguls.

Arbitrage is all about family and allegiances and the flawed decisions made partly on their behalf. Robert Miller (Richard Gere, a fortunate replacement for Al Pacino) has borrowed over $400 million for his company and must give it back at the awkward time of negotiating the company's sale, which depends on that money to be a part of the company's value. Negotiating for that sale is the most fun and maybe most original part of an otherwise clichéd script, where most of the action can be foreseen.

Few actors can carry the silver-tongued, silver fox better these days than Gere, whose toned body and outrageously full hair complement the slippery billionaire who is always minutes away from financial ruin and family disintegration.

While that tension is formulaic, writer/director Nicholas Jarecki does a couple of plot twists that are not predictable, therefore defending the film against derivative charges (pun intended). Plus, the first-rate supporting cast of Susan Sarandon (Miller's wife), Brit Marling (his daughter), and Tim Roth (the nosey detective) give enough pleasure to keep Arbitrage from being a retread of Wall-Street type films.

The subplot of Miller's affair with young artist Julie (Laetetia Costa) is distractingly hackneyed except as a metaphoric reminder of how he plays on the edge of jeopardizing business and family. That affair and his business bad habits form a composite of a hundred doomed big shots who think they can fool very smart wives and savvy business associates, much less canny detectives. Ask Bernie Madoff.
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5/10
A sorry ending
cjburton17 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Arbitrage did a decent job of setting up the characters, and progressing through all the scenario's, until the end when it leaves you feel like you've been left hanging. I get it, the reasons why everyone did what they did, and said what they said (i.e. wife, new owner, daughter, etc.) but the movie somehow left me with a feeling of incompleteness. I would've rather the cop had barged into the awards dinner, with all his peers there. and placed handcuffs on the main character, placing him under arrest as he stood at the podium. accepting his award. Sure, it could've left us wondering what evidence was uncovered, or manufactured, but if I'm going to be left hanging, I'd rather be left hanging there. Some of the things he was involved in and overcame, were plausible, but as a whole, not so much. If you like 'far fetched' plots, you will enjoy watching Arbitrage, at least until the last few minutes of the movie, which is anti climactic. Surely, we're not suppose to believe he signed the legal document his wife sprung on him, essentially submitting to her blackmail. After all the things he was previously able to wiggle out of, he couldn't somehow wiggle out of that? Or, maybe we are expected to believe it was his wife who he succumbed to, in the end. In that case, he would not, could not, be the 'all powerful' which the movie attempts to personify. Obviously, the writers wanted him to somehow be cut down, but I would've preferred the handcuff disgrace, rather than what we are expected to believe his wife had accomplished. Maybe his being arrested would've given the perception that he didn't sign it, and to the contrary, he wasn't arrested, so we can assume he did sign it. I guess we can assume his wife didn't know that he had taken care of both of their children, in the deal. I'm not sure just what we are expected to assume. When Sarandon was kissed on the forehead by Gere as he stood up to accept his award, her expression was all we were given, and it gave little indication of who capitulated. All I'm saying is to be prepared for a let down. Sorry, but this movie was incomplete for me. Too bad, because the acting wasn't bad.
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7/10
Gripping portrayal of how lonely it can be at the top...
Apurv Nagpal14 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Its lonely at the top. Especially, if you only deal in the currency of money ('What else is there?') and you have a wife (Susan Sarandon) who needs money for charities ('But its only 2 mill?') and head a firm that is broke, shored up by a loan that needs to be repaid and is looking to sell-out while maintaining the all important façade of success, prosperity through it all, even while his own daughter (Brit Marling) is trying to get to the bottom of the fudged accounts.

Add to this an affair with a sexy artist (Laetitia Casta) that goes wrong, thanks to a sleepy mistake, a cop (Tim Roth), who is determined to nail him and the son, (Nate Parker), of an ex- employee, who is in the hot seat thanks to you, life doesn't seem to be particularly easy for Richard Gere.

And it doesn't get any easier as he fights everyone who tries to get in his way, his own daughter, the people from the bank trying to buy him, the audit firm going through his books, or his own wife, who suddenly isn't sure what she really wants from her husband.

The pressures shown are real. The situation shown, realistic. As he points out during a conversation when he is trying to explain how he got in this financial mess, things sometimes just go wrong. One bad decision, leads to losses, leads to your getting in deeper, attempting to cover up that hole and soon…BOOM…you're in way over your head, while everyone around you, just wants you to continue to be the ATM you've always been.

Wealth suits Richard Gere in movies, he just looks the part so much. The other impressive actors here were Nate Parker, really convincing, trying not to snitch even when the going gets tough and Tim Roth, the man responsible for the going getting tough.

Enron. WorldCom. Satyam. The world has seen many real life situations where big, reputed companies have gone under. This is a reel-life explanation, at least in part, of how such things come to pass. I found it gripping, engaging and thought provoking. As in real life, you don't know till the end, how it will pan out…

More at www.apurvbollywood.blogspot.com
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8/10
Nobody does pretend billionaire as well as Gere
julian-mumford10 April 2013
Nobody does make believe billionaire as well as Richard Gere, something about the way he carries himself encourages audiences to believe he really is that rich, powerful and connected.

Robert Miller is a hedge fund magnate with it all, money, beautiful wife (Sarandon) who dabbles in charity work and a son and daughter (Marling) who both work for him, to differing levels of competency.

Miller has decided to sell his firm to a financial company desperate to plug a gap in their suite of services and products. Talking of gaps, Miller is desperately trying to paper over some financial cracks of his own, borrowing the odd $400 million to ensure pre-sale audits go well.

When presented with the first few images and sentiments, those with a healthy dose of cynicism are just waiting to be introduced to Miller's other life. Enter stage left, the struggling beautiful art dealer, who is being kindly helped by Miller to negotiate her way through the perils of small business ownership. Such assistance being mainly bedroom based will come as no surprise.

Of course modern thrillers are like buses, there is always another one around the corner. What sets this apart is the supporting cast, including Tim Roth as Detective Bryer, desperate to nail at least one bad guy protected behind expensive lawyers. Nate Parker as Jimmy, the person Miller calls when he really needs help and of course his wife played by Susan Sarandon, supportive, self aware and enjoying the fruits of his labour.

Central to the film is Gere, who has not always chosen parts wisely in the past but here plays a character he can really sell to the audience. Morally ambiguous, ruthless yet loyal, he manages to make a character we really should not like, somehow likable. Arguably encouraging questionable and morally perplexing empathy from the viewer, as his choices dwindle to rock and hard place territory.

Gere can act and does so here, Roth manages to convey the woes of the world and is especially good in the first scene with Gere. Not so much a modern fable but a story that evokes that feeling afterwards, how far would you go to protect what you have. Also rather curiously, why would you end up rooting for the bad guy?

Not perfect, Britt Marling perhaps not making the most of her emotional scenes. At times the film lacks a harder edge, would Jimmy ever really be that reasonable. However overall, a cut above the mainstream and well worth two hours of your time.

Summary

A smart, deliciously amoral tale with a strong turn from Gere, choosing a role that suits his talents. Ignored at the box office but hopefully finding a well deserved following at home.

Good script, pacing and an interesting ending to this financial based thriller that does not require you to know that Arbitrage means to 'take advantage of a price difference between two or more markets'.

http://julesmoviereviews.blogspot.co.nz/
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9/10
The Great American tragedy part 497.....or The Subtle Art of Compromise
Sergio Campanale7 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
We in the UK have finally got this movie in March 2013, but it was definitely worth the wait.

The film, like many made today, has a deliberately retro vibe, this time with a cinematic recreation of the slow burning adult thriller-dramas of the 1980s, films made at a time when studios and film makers had not taken to treating their audiences as idiots so completely as they have now, and a time when deliberate stylistic artifice was recognised as a valuable aid to storytelling rather than a hindrance to "realism". The timing for such a 80s power dressing stab is apt, given the focus is again on a floundering Capitalist system that seems broken because it is working so well.

What marks the movie out is a mature, intelligent approach to its subject matter that is almost gone in today's Hollywood. The "Left" wing in Hollywood has increasingly overtaken the "Right", but its stories are just as black and white, skewed, simplistic and one sided as theirs, as recent so called "hard dramas" like "Broken City" show (a silly comic book posing as a serious analysis of Politics and Finance) To its credit, this film avoids all the "Banker Bashing" and "Occupy Wall Street" stuff for once and instead focuses on something greater than that, the hard truth that in life, no matter what you do or where you are in the pecking order, you have to make moral compromises, sometimes big ones, to get things done. It's an idea that is almost heretical in today's black and white, goodies and baddies world, but here is an American mainstream film that dares say it.

The set-up is pure 80s drama – A rich, successful business magnate named Robert Miller (Richard Gere) has built an empire on the basis that appearances count just as much as fact (another great unspoken truth). He has risen from poverty and made himself, with the support of a loving family structure which he incorporates into his world. He gives heavily to charity, and looks after his employees as an old fashioned paternal industrialist would (he says as much at one point). He is not a bad person, but he is still just a person. Despite being married to his childhood sweetheart Ellen (Susan Sarandon) he strays, and his current mistress is the rather talentless French painter Julie (Letitia Casta) In his business world, he is facing a crisis – The newly unfriendly Russian government has frozen the lucrative copper mine into which he had invested so heavily, making him virtually bankrupt. Naturally, with appearances counting more than fact, he dares not let anyone (not even his family) know, and has borrowed millions from his friend to appear as phoney collateral while he negotiates a lifesaving merger with the rival empire of James Mayfield, negotiations that drag on longer than he dares allow thanks to Mayfield's stalling for a lower price. To make a bad situation worse, a night time car ride with Julie ends in horror when they crash and she is killed. As he considers what to do the car bursts into flames. Knowing the scandal will derail the deal and destroy the lives of his employees, he calls a favour from Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker) the troubled son of his black former chauffeur whom he had taken on as a sort of ward that drives him back to home on the sly. As the negotiations continue, dogged police detective Bryer (Tim Roth) quickly puts two and two together, and tries to nail Miller in the name of all the rich ones that got away, and goes after Jimmy as the weak link. When he won't talk and hard evidence is lacking, he manufactures it with Photoshop! Worse, beloved daughter and heir Brooke (Brit Marling) discovers her Father's subterfuge, and the risk it puts her in as an unwitting accomplice to major fraud. This in turn angers Ellen, who blackmails Robert into signing control of the company to Brooke or she goes to the police. Everything resolves itself in the end, but no one is left clean. Everyone has compromised themselves in the name of the greater good.

The films style is beautiful, artfully capturing the feel of the 80s thriller dramas (right down to Clint Mansell's lovely vintage sounding score). It is intelligently scripted and directed by young up and coming Nicholas Jarecki, who has a very European feel for an American director and will hopefully live up to the promise he shows here. Acting wise it is excellent across the board, from Tim Roth's well-meaning but increasingly underhand detective to Brit Marling's naïve daughter who gets a terrible wake up call to life's realities, to Susan Sarandon's faithful but increasingly impatient wife, to Nate Parker's conflicted and compromised Jimmy, to Letitia Casta's angry failure painter to Graydon Carter's level headed business rival Mayfield (his final line is truly brilliant and links him thematically to the rest of the movie) and everyone else around them give the challenging script the weight it deserves.

It is Gere however who excels here, giving us a character who is at heart a good man, yet is also aware of the limitations his position put him in. Like a king or a Mafia don, the weight of responsibility and hard choices strangles him. You admire his quick wits and brilliant skills in outwitting his rivals, but also feel uneasy at the unethical things he is doing, a man you can love, hate, admire, detest, pity and understand all at the same time! This is the performance of a lifetime from a mature Gere.

As a film it works beautifully, and in a sea of simplistic dramas and easy solutions to intractable problems, it is rare food for thought in a time of intelligence hunger.
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8/10
Worth a watch - not superb but has it's good points
phd_travel19 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I read the good reviews and was interested in the subject matter and actors and it turned out to be worth a watch.

There are some good points. Because Richard Gere's character Robert Miller is the main character and the viewer is on his side (he isn't that evil just a bit whipped), it is a kind of feel good story which succeeds in that sense. The only victim is the rather hateful mistress. Compared to the Michael Douglas Wall Street movies it's more realistic and less thriller like without the preachy message a la Oliver Stone.

Richard Gere looks serious and acts a bit better than usual but still has the silly smile now and then. Susan Sarandon as his wife looks quite well preserved and is quite good. His conflicted daughter is played by Brit Marling who is quite good for the part intelligently attractive. Characters are generally not clichéd or sanctimonious. Their loyalty, selfishness and ultimate actions are quite realistic especially his former driver's son who helps him.

In the end the main distinguishing aspect about this movie is that he got away with it. Other than that it isn't that ground breaking. Overall I'm glad I watched it just expected a bit more.
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5/10
That's it?
jkbonner122 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Five stars out of ten

I was going to write a longer review but cjburton (see his review) beat me to it. He felt the same way as I. I left the theater asking myself, Is that it? I give this movie five out of ten because the acting is decent.

The character of Robert Miller is truly a puzzle. A man who proclaims on TV MONEY is everything and that it explains everything that happens in the world. A concept he imbibed from his 5th grade teacher.

Yet, when in trouble, this money-is-everything guy relies on a young black man from Harlem to extricate him from a serious jam--the inadvertent manslaughter of his young mistress, Julie. All we learn is for some reason this young man's father had worked for Miller and Miller promised him he'd look after his son. What did the guy (the young man's father) do for Miller? Was he a VP or a custodian? We never learn. Is Miller a closet liberal? A billionaire who proclaims out loud MONEY is all that counts seems an unlikely candidate as a liberal under the skin. Not impossible but the film doesn't make it convincing. Nor does Miller ever suffer any consequences for the involuntary manslaughter. Was he just such a crypto-nice guy--and really really rich too--he was above the law in Jarecki's eye (or brain)?

And then there's the detective cop, Bryer (Tim Roth trying to sound like Robert De Niro), determined to stick it to a rich stiff to the point that he doctors a toll booth photo that an assistant DA can't figure is fake but Miller, with a magnifier, within seconds can. I mean, come on! What exactly is Bryer's beef anyway? Was he an Occupy Wallstreet reject? Things like this are never revealed.

The main failure of Arbitrage is that the script tries to weave too many subplots into the film and leaves too much unexplained. I had expected more from it. All in all unsatisfying and disappointing.
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4/10
Patched together, poorly written barrage of watered-down clichés and moments.
secondtake16 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Arbitrage (2012)

An uber-rich man (Richard Gere) faces financial crisis, is having an affair, and is a lovely family man with a brilliant daughter. A terrible accident leads him to cover up the crime, resorting to using friends and testing family loyalties. Will the hospital charity get their big donation by the end?

If this sounds like a familiar, overworked series of clichéd situations, you are right. And the movie offers no twists. The lawyers are clever, the business deals are oversimplified, the actual crisis looks sort of improbable from the few details we get, and girlfriend is not exactly believable, and the main character (Gere) struggles and struggles on camera as if still learning how to act. In front of us.

It's not all terrible, and Gere is not always beyond his ability. For example, he makes a convincing rich dad to a family that has it all. The daughter played by Brit Marling is a highlight and you can predict a broadening career from here. And the wife played by the ever impressive Susan Sarandon is excellent, though her role is kept to a minimum. Other characters are surprisingly thin, as if the director had a narrow view of what was possible with some decent actors. So the opposition business man is compelling to a point, though he never leaves his chair, and the cop (Tim Roth) is the kind of cop you expect and nothing more (though he's good at being that familiar stereotype).

Most of all, even beyond Gere (and I know many people like Gere just fine, and you may like him here) is a plot that doesn't convince. It's passable, but it doesn't persuade and sweep you in to the problems. And the screenplay is so mediocre you wonder where all the disparate pieces were gathered from. This isn't a pie crust--the grandmotherly advice that the best crust is a patched crust doesn't apply here--and if you like business suspense movies like "Wall Street" or the recent "Margin Call" you're going to want a lot more than what this movie offers.
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7/10
Engaging
bob-rutzel-128 December 2012
Hedge fund manipulator and billionaire Robert Miller (Richard Gere) leaves the scene of an accident so as not to be implicated because he was with Julie, his mistress (Laetitia Casta), who dies, and also because he is involved with a huge merger that would cost many jobs, and change lives if the merger doesn't go thru. Miller initiates a cover-up that has him twisting in the wind the rest of the way.

The accident mentioned above caught me by surprise and I jumped to get out of the way, but this is where the story really starts. We understand his reasons for the cover-up and hope for the best. Gere has that likable way about him regardless of what he is trying to hide. Detective Breyer (Tim Roth) plays a somewhat very good Columbo role nipping here and there. The scene in the park with daughter- and his CFO - Brooke (Brit Marling) explains the background for the merger and that is crucial to the story. Here you will understand the meaning of the word Arbitrage (or you could look it up in Webster's).

Except for the accident, the rest of the movie has a made-for-TV feel, but the acting performances of the supporting cast are so good you don't mind and you are fully engaged to find out what will happen next. Susan Sarandon, as Miller's wife, gives a performance that could derail everything. Jimmy (Nate Parker) the son of Miller's one-time chauffeur is the key ingredient to the mystery Detective Bryer is trying to solve. And, Stuart Margolin (from the Rockford Files TV show back in the day) does a credible job as a lawyer for Miller. (7/10)

An Oscar nomination for Richard Gere? Hmmmm………………..possible.

Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes, throughout
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4/10
Arbitrary
lossowitz3 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There are two thing great in this movie. Richard Gere's eyelids and his blue overcoat. Both have allure and timeless beauty.

Gere uses these features to personify a bad guy. Or not really a bad guy... Who knows. The theme seems to be ambiguity, having the audience wonder which side to take, but is ambiguous about it.

Miller, a millionaire, or even billionaire, has troubles. He owes 400 million to a friend to cover up a loss after a bad investment. The friend wants his money back and the only way to accomplish this, is by selling his company, with the covered up loss, to an investor for a large amount. This Mr Mayfield stays out of reach to the growing frustration of Miller. To complicate things, Miller has a car accident with his lover, a mediocre French artist with bad teeth, which leaves her dead. He flees the site of the crash, calls Billy, the son of a former employee, to pick him up.

He is in a mess because of professional failure, he gets in more mess because of emotional failure, and now creates even more mess because of moral failure. His attorney tells him to confess, but he decides the hassle is too dangerous for the all important sale of his firm. Why oh why would we care for this man? The answers are unclear: is he a bad investor? Is he a uncaring husband? Is he a lousy father? His daughter loves him, but finds out his fraud. In a conversation in the park there seems to be some message about responsibility and the corruption of money, but again: seems to be. The problem is that everything stays as superficial as possible.

Miller escapes narrowly his fate, by some bluff when he finally confronts Mayfield and closes the deal. As by magic he knows how to annihilate the evidence that would have Billy surely jailed, which turns out to be fabricated by a discouraged policeman. Bad man gets away with bad things but only because other people are bad as well? Luckily we still have his wife who has a scene left where she tells him she knows EVERYTHING and confronts him. What does she want? A contract. (O God, another one.) Because he corrupted their daughter. The scene is badly written and played out quite annoyingly. Strangely enough, we never know if he concedes, although he appears with his wife and daughter on the charity event that both have been bugging him about the whole two hours.

The message could be: money corrupts, but to have a movie bear such a cliché is insulting. But I cannot find another one. Everything seems to be arbitrary. Ah, that's almost the title. Now I understand EVERYTHING.
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7/10
Gere simply perfect
antoniotierno24 March 2013
Richard Gere in his probably best performance ever, confident, tense, deep. The veteran actor used all his qualities in this very gripping "Arbitrage", a drama about crazy and cynical calculations behind Wall Street intrigues. Arbitrage asks the viewer to sympathize with a guy

cheating and trying to cover terrible things and shows many different characters, such as hard-working cops, an immaculate daughter, ruthless business partners, as well as a suffering wife. There are holes in the plot but the audience doesn't mind too much, because of the perfect tension and the detailed script. Gere is perfect, he gets to show real desperation, anger and discomfort at the same time. Arbitrage is special and different from other similar movies due to its refusal to condemn this world.
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6/10
Morality in Wealth
p-stepien11 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is a wealthy hedge fund manager, which has driven his company into a precarious financial position, hence cooking the books in order to sell off his company and thus his debt. In an effort to safeguard his family and employees Robert is actually somewhat caring for needs of others, even if this is filtered through a skewed moral compass. Nonetheless his daughter and company CFO Brooke (Brit Marling) still idolises him, at least until she discovers discrepancies within the financial papers. The hidden company losses are not Robert's only dark side, as he regularly cheats on his wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) with Spanish artist Julie Cote (Laetitia Casta). One night, with a big company sell-off looming, Robert's situation complicates further as a drunk driving accident causes the death of Julie, whilst he himself opts for escaping the scene of the accident. Running out of options Robert calls Harlem-based Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker) for assistance...

Nicholas Jarecki's debut is a choppy start for the promising director. Not without its intriguing concepts "Arbitrage" falls foul to a plot overreach, where the failure is mostly on rampaging lack of focus. An enjoyable thriller does throw in several ideas and unlike most features ends on a high, which helps to gloss over inconsistencies within, most pronouncedly the case of det. Michael Bryer played by Tim Roth, who drops out of the picture without any closure.

The character of Robert is presented as a likable person, who acts questionably under duress, but ultimately has morality, albeit one with a drastically skewed logic. Unlike "Wall Street" the story doesn't delve into the despicable and manipulative world of financiers (albeit they do play some role, with a key scene at the end, where the mogul who purchased Robert's business meaningfully turns a blind eye to his accounting shenanigans). Instead it deals with the broken morality of the wealthy and the family context within which they function. Despite Richard's obvious guilt he deems it justified to avoid arrest in order to save his company, but does not feel overly guilt-ridden by involving an innocent ordinary Afroamerican into his affairs, thus possibly condemning him to prison. As Jimmy has an extreme sense of honour, he shows a stronger backbone than all others involved. Robert's wife for instance will not back down from blackmailing her husband in return for an alibi. Despite a somewhat cumbersome delivery of the story the conflicts of moral stances remains the most intriguing ingredient of the thriller. The somewhat predictable story offers certain twists are introduced by Jarecki to liven up proceedings, although simultaneously this does introduce too much distracting subplots.

The overall ending comes off as delightfully ambiguous, as Robert avoids prison, thus suggesting that the wealthy as destined to live through their own set of rules. This does not however mean that there is no blow-back, justice, as Robert ultimately must succumb to his wife's demands, thus keeping the facade of success to hide the failure within, as he has lost almost all that was dear to him: his family's respect, love and adoration.
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