The plot of ARBITRAGE reads like an extended episode of Law & Order (or maybe Law & Order: Criminal Intent since it is told from the criminal’s perspective). Richard Gere is Bob Miller, a financial hedge fund genius who is juggling several spiked balls at once. He’s trying to negotiate a merger with a big bank. He’s doing that to cover about $400 million dollars in loses from a failed copper mine speculation. He’s being investigated by the SEC. He’s also having an affair with a gallery owner who’s nothing more than an average artist. What sets off the drama here is a car accident. Gere falls asleep at the wheel while running away for a tryst with his gallery owner floozie. The car flips, she dies and Gere runs. He spends the rest of the movie trying to avoid prison for himself and the young black man he calls to drive him away from the accident scene. What saves this from being a really dopey movie of the week is the acting. Gere is harried, yet never out of control. Tim Roth is fantastic as the NYPD detective who will do anything to solve the crime, including fabricate evidence. Stuart Margolin is Gere’s lawyer who tries to make him do the right thing, despite Gere’s belief he can fix anything. The directing (by Norman Jarecki, who also wrote the screenplay) is nothing special. But Gere shows just how good an actor he can be and since he is the focus of the movie, that’s a really good thing. — Alan Yudman

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