opens on a warm family scene: Dead-eyed hedge-fund manager Robert (Richard Gere) shares a birthday dinner with his wife and children, reveling in the love of his family and the imminent sale of his company. It's an enviable, candle-lit vision of the good life — and its hollowness is quickly revealed when Robert dashes off for a visit with his gap-toothed French mistress. Robert's business dealings are as shady as his personal ones, turns out, and an accident and a cover-up further undo Robert's good-guy facade; when he implicates a young black man in his crimes, it becomes clear that Robert's only loyalty is to his money. Rich people are the worst. Arbitrage
is so schematic it might as well come with a set of blueprints; every plot point loudly transmits its real-world application. There's not a trace of ambiguity or moral complexity here — the takeaway is simply that cause and effect function differently for rich people. Money simultaneously justifies all of Robert's actions and insulates him from their consequences. Arbitrage
's observations are maddening, certainly, but also hard to recommend, unless for some reason you're trying to reinforce your cynicism. (100 min.)
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Futility in the face of privilege.