I did my duty by going along to every one of the post-GFC Gordon Gekko greed-is-good films I could find to watch the slagging of the capitalist system in movies made by capitalists, guided as they were by the profit motive in the story lines they chose to portray. I therefore continued this form of psychological abuse by going out to see Richard Gere in Arbitrage which co-stars Susan Sarandon, itself a very bad sign of plot points to come. And I will confess to being reluctant to go but went only because it was described as a “thriller” which is my wife’s favourite kind of film.
What follows is not a recommendation to go see the film for yourself, although I also do not wish to deter you. It gets 85% by the critics at Rotten Tomatoes but only 73% by the audience. On IMDB the audience gives it a 6.9. I would go with the audience at both RT and IMDB which seem to have it about right. It’s not Gone with the Wind.
But why I mention the film at all is because the Richard Gere character is portrayed in a positive way and in all the wheeler dealer stuff which we are manipulated by in the story and in the characterisations, we are made to want Gere to succeed. Gere is no villain – not in the ordinary sense anyway – and while it is hard for me to tell for sure, I would almost think he is meant to be the All American Boy Makes Good. The moral still comes out that devoting your time to such horrid areas of work such as making money is bad for your family relations, but Gere is crafted to show a net surplus of positive virtues.
And just for interest, when I looked the film up the on these movie sites, it is the only one ever to have used the word “arbitrage” in its title. I’m not entirely surprised but it is notable that the term is considered neither so obscure nor so offputting that it can now be used in the title of a film designed for a mass audience.