Arbitrage: Aging Well

That really is a fantastic tagline...

That really is a fantastic tagline…

I only just found out what “Arbitrage” means, being ” the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices” (from Wikipedia). The way the term is used in this film is interesting – the difference in price in this case is the different values that a buyer and a seller believe the asset to have – is that actually how it is used in the market?

Arbitrage tells the tale of a hedge-fund manager in a crisis. Robert Miller has been had an extremely successful career; however, due to a mistaken investment, his latest fund is not worth the $400-$600 million it supposedly has on the books. Staying one step ahead of the game, Miller has borrowed money to plug the gap, and is working on selling the fund before his fraudulent behaviour is discovered, so as to protect his family and investors. However, a careless accident puts all of this in jeopardy…

What I really want to say with regards to this film will be at the end of this post, for good reasons. But one other thing that struck me about this film is how convincing Richard Gere was. To a certain extent, he’s always exuded a smarmy charm that you just love to hate; but that’s just perfect for Miller, a man that’s impossible to sympathise with, but who keeps your attention because you want to see him get his just desserts.

**WARNING**ENDING SPOILERS AHEAD**

Which brings me to the point I admired most about this film: it dares to go where few Western films go and let a villain escape from the law. The ending left me dissatisfied in some ways; like Detective Bryer, I wanted to see him fall and lose everything. But perhaps this was the most fitting end; whilst Miller’s reputation remains intact and the investors in his fund protected from his misdeeds, his own private life is reduced to a painful sham. The divorce threat that his wife brought before him was certainly a shock; however, what probably hurt him most was losing the trust of his daughter. Is that the kind of “Golden Years” you’d like to have?

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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