Yet another movie about a cinematic rich bad man.
Meet the next new movie title to be mispronounced by everybody since Cosmopolis: Arbitrage. Yeah, it also deals with greed, corruption, and selfishness.
Have you gotten the message that rich men are bad, Mr. Millionaires in Hollywood?
This particular Bernie Madoff-esque bad rich man Robert Miller (Richard Gere) ruins everybody around him’s life because he made bad financial calls and poor personal decisions. And of course, because admitting such a monetary sin in the corporate world would mean total ruin, he fudges his books and doesn’t tell his right hand man, his daughter Brooke Miller (Brit Marling). But shit really hits the fan when he runs off with his tempestuous artist mistress and into a fatal car crash (not for him, obvs). Then he calls the son of his former driver (a rather spirited performance by Nate Parker) to rescue him from getting caught by the cops. But (again) of course, this kid is an accomplice, and black men always get the blame (actual point of discussion in the movie). So this rich man has ruined yet another person’s life.
Because rich men ruin EVERYBODY’S lives, duh.
(see recent: Cosmopolis, The Dark Knight Returns, Tower Heist … Mitt Romney).
And that’s just the beginning. The film’s a little on the plodding side, with lots of Gere screaming into telephones very angrily. He’s alright in the film, but I can think of a few other of his roles that were much more entertaining. There’s not enough of Susan Sarandon’s unhappily wedded Mrs. Miller, but there was too much Brit Marling to convince me she’s sharp enough to be second-in-command of a faux Fortune 500 company. Her airy delivery works for mysterious roles like a cult leader in Sound of my Voice; not so much when you have to fire people who have been working in the family business for years. And Tim Roth must be trying to win my Willem Dafoe creeper award, because he’s trying really hard to let everybody in the theater know HE IS SO THE BAD GUY. But he’s not to be confused with the more subtle rich bad man. To be fair, this is 25-year-old Nicholas Jarecki’s first major feature, so it’s not like your first college essay was ever that focused.
I really wanted to use the term “Arbi-trash” to describe this movie, but it doesn’t stink all THAT much.
Really, it could use some nip/tuck on the screenplay, but the players are decent and the movie looks opulent enough. The weird murder mystery is a bit much. I’d rather just stick to the numbers and personal drama for once, which is probably the first time I’ve ever written such a statement. And hey, it’s the only non-French film opening at the Kendall this weekend, so that’s something, right?
But just so we’re clear, make sure that you learn that rich men are bad. Very, very, bad.