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Arbitrage & Cosmopolis--Reviewed

Updated on September 24, 2012

Gere and Sarandon

Gere and Sarandon
Gere and Sarandon
Source
Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson
Juliette Binoche, Cosmopolis
Juliette Binoche, Cosmopolis
Giamatti & Pattinson
Giamatti & Pattinson

Arbitrage & Cosmopolis Reviewed

Arbitrage is the second movie I've seen recently in which the main character is a hedge fund or private equity investor. The other was Cosmopolis, based on the book by Don DeLillo and directed by David Cronenberg which consisted of a bad day in the life of 28-year-old billionaire hedge fund operator, Eric Packer, played by Robert Pattison. Cosmopolis is a surrealistic portrait of a ruthless bankster and Arbitrage is a more realistic Hollywood portrayal of a more conventional New York hedge fund operator or bankster. One reviewer compared the manner and personality of Richard Gere's character, Robert Miller, to Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase. Cronenberg's Eric Packer, bears little resemblance to Jamie Dimon.

Both the Cronenberg/DeLillo character and Arbitrage's leading character are facing financial crises which bear some similarities to those in the news in the past couple of years--Madoff, MFGlobal, Lehman and others. And both movies depict how their lead characters react to financial and other pressures facing them. The Gere and Pattison characters reveal different faces of amorality when facing financial ruin. Robert Miller is attempting to close the sale of his business to another banker, and when a big bet on a Russian mining venture sours, he cooks the books to the tune of $400 million to keep the deal from unraveling. His family affairs are dishonest as well. He hides the fraud from his daughter who is chief financial officer of his company, cheats on his wife with an attractive art dealer whose gallery he financed and whose apartment lease is paid by his company. Without giving any more of the plot away, Gere's business, family and relationship with his mistress all unravel simultaneously, and the movie's portrayal of all the characters is quite cynical. Richard Gere's performance was among his best.

Robert Pattinson's Eric Packer is a much stranger character. The movie consists of a day long trip across Manhattan for a haircut. Packer's bodyguard tries but is unable to persuade Packer to wait to the following day because Manhattan traffic is gridlocked by a Presidential visit. During the course of the long trip across town in his armored stretch limousine, Packer gets reports on huge losses due to his failing bet against the Yuan; has his daily prostate exam; gets laid twice (once in a steamy cameo performance by Juliet Binoche); has lunch with his beautiful wife whom he married two weeks previously; is warned of threats against his life; encounters demonstrations similar to OWS but more violent; gets a haircut; and ends up in a standoff with a crazed assassin character played by Paul Giamatti.

Cosmpopolis and Arbitrage are both worth seeing and quite topical, but neither, in my opinion, measured up to Wall Street or last year's depiction of the Lehman meltdown, Margin Call.

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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Good stock! My father's side of the family was from Yorkshire, my mother's from Sussex, so I'm a southerner and a northerner (even though I grew up in the south)! Have a great week.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Do you know which bit of England? I'm into family trees but my sister does most of the hard research!

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment. (My earliest known ancestor came from England--John Pound in 1673 or thereabouts.) https://hubpages.com/entertainment/Arbitrage-Movie...

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Informative, well-written review. I'll look out for these films, though not my usual choice (though I do rather like Richard Gere!). Looking forward to reading more of your hubs. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Unfortunately, Juliette Binoche is only on for a couple of minutes and Giamatti not much longer. They both nailed their roles, especially Juliette.

    • profile image

      H. Ralph 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the critique of these two films. I'm planning to see both -- I especially enjoy Paul Giamatti and Juliette Binoche ever since they first caught my attention in, respectively, Barney's Version and Damage. So it will be particularly interesting to see them in the same film.

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