Richard Gere is perfectly cast in Arbitrage as a financial wheeler-dealer whose world caves in on him because of some bad decisions he’s made. But let me ask you something: does anyone find it shocking that a heartless high-roller would do absolutely anything to save his skin—even at the cost of his family’s love and professional reputation? I found myself curiously disengaged from this story and didn’t care what happened to Gere’s character.
In his dramatic feature debut, documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, who wrote and directed Arbitrage, manages to bring superficial credibility to a highly contrived story. It has the right look and feel, and the right man in the crucial leading role. The movie is never boring, but it has no resonance.
Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker, and Stuart Margolin head a first-class supporting cast. The real standout is Tim Roth as a streetwise New York City detective who’s seen it all and can spot a liar a mile away. His accent and attitude are perfect, and he brings much-needed spice to the film.
But when you don’t care about the outcome, nothing much else matters.