Popcorn Picks: Arbitrage

Starring: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth

Director: Nicholas Jarecki

Genre: Drama

Choice quote: Susan Sarandon: [To Richard Gere] How much money do you need? Do you want to be the richest guy in the cemetery?

What’s it about? If managing the fraudulent sale of his company and his rampant infidelity wasn’t stressful enough, a tragic event leaves unscrupulous hedge fund heavyweight Robert Miller (Gere) scheming to save whatever’s left of his once charmed life.

Is it any good? Gere is pitch-perfect as Miller, the billionaire watching his grand plans go up – some quite literally – in smoke. The supporting cast, including Sarandon as Miller’s jilted wife, Brit Marling as his strong-willed daughter and Nate Parker as an unwitting accomplice, all hit the right notes. Tim Roth, meanwhile, does a superb job as the tough and witty, though morally confused, detective pursuing Miller.

There’s nothing offensive or insulting to the intelligence here – the tension builds at a good pace, and the script and direction are fine. On one hand, most characters lack that next level of emotional depth to really constitute any breakout performances, and while it had the potential to do so, it’s not so much an indictment of the real-life Wall Street scoundrels splashed across headlines in recent years. Still, it accomplishes its primary goal, which is providing an entertaining and suspenseful drama that keeps you engaged through to a satisfying end.

Can I bring my grandkids to see it? You can, but unless they’re old enough to comprehend the tenets of financial fraud, they’ll probably grow weary rather quickly.

See it in theatres or rent it? Theatres.

Overall Popcorn Rating: 3.5 kernels (out of 5)

Arbitrage opens in Toronto on Sept. 28.

-Mike Crisolago