It feels like life has turned upside down when you are watching yet another smooth Wall Street operator perpetuate a multi-million fraud to save his own bacon, yet somehow even as he digs in deeper, you actually want him to get away with it. Robert Miller, the suave debonair banker in this instance, is also cheating on his wife, and also tries to cover up his involvement in his mistress’s fatal car accident, and he is even prepared to sacrifice his daughter’s own career when she discovers the fraud. His life is a real mess but in this very taut psychological crime thriller, the debut feature film from young writer/director Nicholas Jarecki (directed ‘The Outsider’ doc.) we are almost happy when Miller somehow manages to prove he has more than nine lives.
Miller, impressively played by Richard Gere who hasn’t turned in a performance as good as this since ‘The Hoax’, seems to have it all. Beautiful Park Avenue mansion, wonderful supportive wife, two beautiful grown up children, one of whom is his company ‘s CFO, but he is a greedy ‘gambler’. Not with cards or the like, but speculating on a copper mine in Russia that promises fool’s gold. When this practically bankrupts his company, he cooks the books, borrows some $400 million for a few days from a friend (!) whilst he hopes to sell off his Company at an inflated price to another Wall St concern, but the ‘poker’ bluffing between the two of them almost railroads the deal and threatens to expose Miller’s financial shenanigans.
Meanwhile his demanding mistress persuades him to make his long day even longer, and so tired beyond belief he falls asleep at the wheel of the car he is driving them both for a break before he crashes it and kicks off a whole new trail of events that could land him jail for totally other reasons besides the fraud. What is really good about this tale is that it never follows the obvious path and there are more a few twists that add some real intrigue to this rather excellent wee film. I’m not giving any spoilers here when I say, that we all know that the rich always get away with murder.
It was really very much Mr Gere’s show, but he had an excellent supporting cast that included the superb Susan Sarandon as the wife, BritMarling as the daughter, Laetitia Castra as the mistress, and Tim Roth as the persistent homicide detective.
P.S. I must confess that I had too check out Wikipedia to discover what arbitrage actually means. I knew that it was probably one of those new high fangled terms that some Wall Street type had concocted to keep outsiders in the dark about yet some other scheme to make money out of other people’s money by issuing a lot of indecipherable paper. Wiki is helpful BUT maybe I am little too ‘unworldly’ because I still couldn’t grasp exactly what it is . But on the other hand, I will probably never need to know.