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Arbitrage

Richard Gere plays the billionaire owner of an investment firm who is loved by everyone around him; co-workers, family, charity organizers, even the media.  But he harbors a dark secret; he’s committed fraud with the company money, lost a ton, and now must sell the company before it’s found out and he spends the rest of his life in jail.   On the eve of his sale, he goes all Ted Kennedy, running away from the scene of a car accident while his girlfriend dies.  The rest of the movie is about his attempts to cover up both “indiscretions” before either of them can sink him for good.

It’s a pretty conventional plot– white collar crime is nothing new, but it’s been all the rage the last few years — and it’s handled terribly conventionally.   The characters are pretty flat – Laetitia Casta is especially bad as the steretypical rich man’s girlfriend who pouts when he refuses to put her art career above his family – and nothing here is terribly interesting.  Brit Marling plays Gere’s daughter and the company’s CFO, and she’s absolutely heartbroken to learn that her father isn’t quite as fine and upstanding as she thought he was.  One wonders; doesn’t she watch movies?

I’m amazed at all the attention this film is getting; both Roger Ebert and David Denby (at the New Yorker) put it on their “Top Ten of 2012″ lists, and it keeps garnering nominations at critics’ festivals, though it hasn’t won much yet.  I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s a perfectly functional but utterly forgettable white collar thriller.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Verdict: Not Recommended  I can imagine watching this on cable some night when you’re stuck in a motel room with nothing else to do, and the only other choices are shows about hillbilly taxidermists.  That’s about the only time I’d recommend it.

 

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