In "Arbitrage" Richard Gere plays Robert Miller, a Manhattan based finance tycoon who happens to be hiding a deficit in his fund. Oh you know, just $412 million dollars. Bernie Madoff, anyone? In the film Gere is a tough negotiator, a demanding boss and of course, a philanderer.
Susan Sarandon plays Gere's wife who is in on the secret. She is well aware that he is lying to his clients, but she doesn't want to sacrifice her place in high society or the life she has become accustomed to. In most of her scenes, Sarandon is holding a white fluffy dog as if her life depends on it. I'd like to applaud the director for that subtle but meaningful choice.
From the start of the movie Robert is trying to sell his company. He needs to sell it before anyone figures out his books are cooked and the company is worthless. He is so close to a signature on the dotted line when he gets in a car accident while out with his mistress, Julie, played by actress and model Laetitia Casta.
Should Robert call the police? What will happen if the press finds out? Will his wife leave him? Will his investors be spooked? The rest of the movie follows Robert as he tries to conceal the car accident and sells his company.
"Arbitrage" succeeds at building a steady pulse of nervous tension. You find yourself guessing what Robert's next move will be every five to ten minutes. My mother and I were shouting at the TV, "Is he going to call? Is he going to tell her? Is he going to die of internal bleeding?" We were completely sucked in.
The papers and magazines are already saying this role may be the one that finally scores Richard Gere his first Academy Award.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think?