Dictionary.com’s definition of the word arbitrage is “Finance. The simultaneous purchase and sale of the same securities, commodities, or foreign exchange in different markets to profit from unequal prices.” for those of you who, like me, were not entirely sure what the title of this film actually means. It can also mean to arbitrate between parties, but it’s the financial context that is implied here, loosely describing the business transactions of central character Robert Miller, played by Richard Gere. The successful head of a multi-million dollar company, one that also employs both his children, his ledgers aren’t all that they would seem, which produces a ticking time bomb as he struggles to dig himself out of an enormous economic crevice, and the growing pressure cracks begin to fracture other areas of his life in the process.
Gere has played many similar roles over the years and he does a very good job here, and overall it’s a pretty solid, interesting film. The story plays with shifting around our sympathies to a small degree, and seeing this explored further, as well as tweaking the supporting roles to make them more involving, could have added an extra degree of intrigue and complexity. As it is, it remains a drama worth going to see, with decent acting support from Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, and up and comers Nate Parker (‘Red Tails’) and Brit Marling (‘Another Earth’). It is the first dramatic feature film to be written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki.