The Abu Dhabi Film Festival will open with the Richard Gere-starrer, Arbitrage, on October 11.
Produced by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Turki, the movie is being seen as a bridge that unites the East with the West, and the presence of the film’s director, Nicholas Jarecki, and stars, Gere and Nate Parker, is certainly bound to strengthen these ties as well as add a dash of glamour to the opening night on the sands of Arabia.
Arbitrage is undoubtedly a Gere movie. At 63, he still exudes that boyish charm we saw in the late 1970s and early 1980s in films like An Officer and a Gentleman and Pretty Woman, and it is this charisma that carries Nicholas Jarecki’s first feature, Arbitrage. As Robert Miller, a hedge fund manager on Wall Street, Gere plays a villain of sorts, albeit one who just cannot be hated.
Trying to palm off a company he had built from scratch through a merger he negotiates, craftily hiding its $-400-million debt – even from his daughter, Brooke (Brit Marling), who is the chief accountant there – Miller is an uncanny combination of pre-infamy Bernie Madoff and Chappaquiddick Teddy Kennedy. He represents a world that is selfish, has no scruples and uses money to get away with some of the worst misdemeanours.
In a subplot, Miller is seen walking away from a terrible car accident where his lover, Julie Cote (former Victoria’s Secret model Laetitia Casta), is killed. He tries to wriggle out of the mess by asking Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), the son of a former chauffeur, for help, putting the boy’s life and future in jeopardy. When things reach a flashpoint, Miller dangles millions to keep Grant with him.
Will Arbitrage, which also stars Susan Sarandon as Miller’s wife, help Gere win an Oscar? He has never been nominated before, though surprisingly his co-stars in many of his movies were, and in two cases, they even won. Writers have pointed out that Gere could effortlessly help others around him come out with their best, and what a contrast that is to his own role in Arbitrage. Maybe, at least this time, the Academy would not overlook the actor’s great piece of acting.
The Festival runs till September 20.