“Will you give up the power you love to hang on to your last shred of humanity?” is one of the main themes of Nicholas Jarecki’s new film, “Arbitrage,” which screened Tuesday night at Landmark E Street Cinema.
HOH is not so sure that’s a good question to ask the career climbers crawling all over Washington, D.C. But what we are sure is that the film is an entertaining thriller:
It stars Richard Gere as Robert Miller, a Bernie Madoff-esque hedge fund manager trying to liquidate his assets before anyone uncovers the elaborate book-cooking behind his illusory trading empire. At the same time, Miller is trying to hide an affair and cover up the accidental death of his mistress, Julie (Laetitia Casta), who is killed at his hands in a car accident.
Miller is faced with the dilemma of either turning himself into the authorities or continuing to try and tie up the dangerous loose ends of his life, all without hurting those around him. Hanging in the balance is Miller’s wife, Ellen (Susan Sarandon), his daughter and unknowing chief investment officer Brooke (Brit Marling), and Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), the son of a former employee whom Miller reaches out to after car accident. The plot leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, wondering how Miller can make it all work.
HOH sat down with Jarecki, who suggested that a Washington audience could likely relate to Miller’s moral ambiguity — a family man who has to deal with the mistakes he’s made in his work and personal life. A situation none too foreign to seasoned political types.
“There’s no good and bad guys in this story in my mind. They’re all morally challenged, just like we all are,” Jarecki said. “And the decisions we’ve got to make in our lives are not so straightforward.”