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January 31, 2013

Two thumbs up for the film 'Arbitrage"

(Continued)

Back on topic, as you might guess, Gere is not the same successful businessman who appeared in “Pretty Woman.” He looks like it in the opening scenes when he flies around in his private jet and celebrates his 60th birthday surrounded by his loving wife, kids and grandchildren. The guy seems to have it all.

We quickly discover that his utopian world isn’t all it appears to be. He has clearly been caught up in the disastrous Wall Street investment schemes that caused the Great Recession and left his corporation on the brink of bankruptcy. His only hope is to “cook the books” and sell the company before anyone finds out. It is a race against time as he is dealing with a reluctant buyer, an ill-timed audit, and a daughter who as the chief financial officer discovers something is amiss.

To top it off, this “devoted” husband and family man has a gorgeous young mistress on the side. All hell breaks loose when he falls asleep at the wheel of his car while driving with her to a lakeside cabin in upstate New York (Cooperstown, perhaps?). The car flips over and his mistress is killed. Totally freaked out, he leaves the scene and hopes he can avoid being tied to it.

It can’t possibly get any worse. Gere’s character has not only bankrupted his company and betrayed his family, but has caused his lover’s death and left the scene of the accident. How in the world is he ever going to recover from the disasters he brought upon himself?

What is so great about this film is that it resolves these dilemmas in a believable way that you cannot foresee. Two aspects that add to the suspense are the fact the police know he was involved in his lover’s death and his daughter realizes he has done something fraudulent with their company. Gere’s character can’t just rely on cover-ups and false alibis.

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