Arbitrage: Power is the Best Alibi (2012)

Posted: December 28, 2012 in Drama, Thriller

arbitrage-poster01On the merge of a major deal to sell his company, Robert Miller seems to be balancing his life perfectly. A loving family, a secret girlfriend and shady business practices are all held together by a thread but he seems to have a handle on it all. With the deal being held up and Mayfield avoiding meetings with Robert and his partners, it puts significant strain on his secret relationship with Julie. While he makes it to the art show late and is able to mend their relationship, they get into a crash when Robert falls asleep at the wheel. When he wakes up and sees that Julie is dead, he runs away from the crash just as the car explodes. While he gets helps from an old friend to get home mostly undetected, Detective Michael Bryer starts to investigate the case and has a strong suspicion that Robert is the one responsible.

Starring: Richard Gere (Robert Miller), Susan Sarandon (Ellen Miller), Tim Roth (Det. Michael Bryer), Brit Marling (Brooke Miller), Laetitia Casta (Julie Cote), Nate Parker (Jimmy Grant), Stuart Margolin (Syd Felder), Chris Eigeman (Gavin Briar), Graydon Carter (James Mayfield), Bruce Altman (Chris Vogler), Larry Pine (Jeffrey Greenberg), Curtiss Cook (Det. Mills), Reg E. Cathey (Earl Monroe), Felix Solis (A.D.A. Deferlito), Tibor Feldman (Judge Rittenband)

Taking on a role of a two-headed business giant, Richard Gere’s performance actually fell a bit flat. For someone who was responsible for the death of a lover, there were few moments throughout the film where he seemed to show remorse, pain or even sadness. Sarandon falls into a similar category, but she does a much better job with her dramatic moment at the end of the film. Most of the rest of the cast also comes off as flat. Tim Roth is probably the best actor in the film, representing a determination that works toward attempting to prove Miller’s guilt.

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Money is power and power corrupts. This is the motto that Nicholas Jarecki used to project his story of a man’s potential fall from grace. While he seems to have a perfect life including an affair, Robert became lost when he was finally put in a place of vulnerability. Still, the momentary loss of control was quickly followed up by a combination of a lot of deception and a little bit of luck. With an aggressive detective on the case, Robert had to try and cover all of his bases and put a significant level of trust into the son of a former employee as well as his own daughter, who worked for his company. This all was happening while also trying to close his business deal that just could not seem to follow through. After being run around in circles too many times, Robert finally found a way to pin down Mayfield. In essence, Robert’s survival throughout his personal and professional drama could be consider no less than extraordinary.

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Unfortunately, what is not extraordinary is this film. There are a lot of plot holes throughout the story that the mediocre acting could not dismiss. While the first part of the film seemed to be fine, the crash created a lot of complications. Robert’s advisor mentions the fact that it is easy to miss a lot of the details, even with the car going up in flames. While the police discover his fingerprints in the apartment, there were a ton of pieces of evidence that were never even talked about. Since Robert sustained injuries in the crash, it would have been easy to do a medical exam. The detective also never followed through on the meeting with Ellen, except to reveal his suspicions after the failed court hearing. If Mayfield’s company was completing multiple background checks, they probably should have come across some of the other legal issues that Robert and the company were tangled in. The detective’s proctoring of the license plate photo was also a bit too amateur to have been taken to court.

There were a lot of things wrong with this film, but he most significant pitfall was the lackluster acting and the bland dialogue and story development.

Dan’s Rating: 2.0/5


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