Arbitrage Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Arbitrage
Reviewed by
Soph Starfish
on
Arbitrage†Blu-ray Review With movies like these - interpersonal power dramas set in modern times, and dealing with those moving in social strata with a disproportionate influence on society - there is a temptation to make them not just relevant, but uber-relevant.
Rating:
4.0

Feature 8.0
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features   N/A
Total 8.0
Distributor: Madman Visit's Soph's modelling profile and interview at Impulse Gamer
Running Time: 107 mins
Classification: MA15+
Reviewer: Soph

8.0

 
Arbitrage

It wouldíve been the easiest thing in the world to write and shoot Arbitrage in a thoroughly mediocre way. At root, the story is basically an extended episode of Law and Order: a crime is committed by someone who has been able to buy his way out of everything - but will his tricks work this time, and can he hold it all together while his business machinations reach boiling point? Itís not a revolutionary premise, but, this time, all the ingredients are there.
 

Good writing? Check. Good acting? Check. Good directing? Check. Good soundtrack? Cliff Martinez, be mine forever. Arbitrage is skillfully executed and wears the resultant polish with justifiable pride. The end result is a slick film about the crimes of the rich and famous, with all the attendant sex, luxury, indulgence, selfishness, greed and sociopathy that you could hope for.
 

While the premise isnít particularly original or complicated, Arbitrage transforms it into a solid, unpredictable cat-and-mouse narrative. The sordid fortunes of the protagonist - played by Richard Gere in one of his better performances - see-saw wildly throughout the film. Importantly, though, these fluctuations translate into a very real emotional maelstrom of tension, paranoia and dread that the viewer canít help but feel. This main thread is offset by several subplots, but none of these are redundant; each and every one drives the film to its supremely effective (and somewhat unusual) conclusion.
 

Does the film make any missteps? Sure. It doesnít pass the Bechdel Test. Gereís relationship with his daughter could have been more fleshed out, and her major dialogue scene with him doesnít quite ring true. Nor is it clear to me that Susan Sarandon is really bringing the goods for the majority of the film (although she certainly delivers towards the end). And, frustratingly, the script occasionally treats key themes (patriarchy comes to mind) with an eye-rolling heavy-handedness. But these are quibbles. Either separately or in sum, they donít even come close to spoiling the movie.
 

With movies like these - interpersonal power dramas set in modern times, and dealing with those moving in social strata with a disproportionate influence on society - there is a temptation to make them not just relevant, but uber-relevant. There seems to be an urge to clumsily turn them into treatises on grand social and psychological themes - as if itís not enough to simply tell a really good story. Arbitrage is a fantastic counterexample to this nonsense. A good story, well told, can indeed be just as powerful and entertaining as more grand and ambitious projects.






 
 



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