AFI DOCS 2014 (Days 3&4)

Arbitrage

Arbitrage is already out on DVD, so this brief review falls into the ‘better late than never’ category. I actually watched Arbitrage on the heels of Flight and it made for a rather interesting double feature. Both movies star extremely watchable men (Denzel Washington in Flight, Richard Gere in Arbitrage) playing extremely flawed and conflicted characters that you can’t help but root for on some level — even when they’re being total jackasses. You can read more about Flight here. As for Arbitrage, it’s a much quieter drama that never quite gets off the ground.

Gere plays Robert Miller, a successful hedge fund manager with a picture-perfect family that includes a beautiful wife (Susan Sarandon) and kids who adore him. But all is not as it seems. Miller has committed fraud, personally and professionally. He’s cocky and egotistical enough to believe that he can ride it all out without anyone getting hurt. But when his mistress dies in a car accident, everything starts to unravel. Arbitrage is a mystery thriller that’s light on mystery and short on thrills. But Gere is still compelling to watch in that ‘Richard Gere’ wry smile, twinkle-in-the-eye sort of way… tinged with a level of complexity that we rarely get to see in his characters. Is that enough to warrant more than lukewarm support for Arbitrage? Not really.

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