Commodities the Bad Guy in "Arbitrage" Movie

by Susan Gidel | Oct 03, 2012
Where have we seen this story before? Real life or TV drama?

Rich guy makes a bad trade and tries to fix it before anyone finds out. Rich guy cheats on his wife and does something stupid. Money fixes everything.

Don’t see “Arbitrage” expecting an insider’s take on hedge funds like films such as “Wall Street,” “Margin Call” and “Too Big To Fail” have done to provide a glimpse inside our country’s financial machine.

No, “Arbitrage,” the break-out feature film for writer/director Nicholas Jarecki, is supposed to show us how good guys can get stuck in bad situations for the right reasons. Call me jaded. Call me cynical. I just never had a lot of empathy for Richard Miller, played by Richard Gere, as the “I’m doing it all for my family” hedge-fund manager. If he were—at least in my book—he wouldn’t have lied to all of them about so many things for so long.

That said, I really enjoyed the movie. The characters were interesting and believable. There were beautiful people in beautiful clothes in beautiful New York settings. Even the storyline was believable—just not the main character’s motivation. Still, there were a couple of glimmers of him trying to make it right for the right reasons that did succeed and made me think the rich guy wasn’t as heartless and money-grubbing as others of his ilk are often portrayed.

 I have two bones to pick, from a content perspective, however.

First, do commodity/derivative markets always have to be the bad guy? I simply don’t buy that a billionaire hedge fund manager would have gotten blindsided by “variation margin” on a copper futures trade. And, I certainly would have expected better from 33-year-old Jarecki, son of FIA Hall-of-Famer and former Mocatta Metals Corp. chairman Dr. Henry Jarecki. 

Second, (and I pre-apologize to all the nice people I know at CNBC), does Maria Bartiromo have to have a cameo appearance in every financial-oriented movie in order to make it seem real-to-life?

The best line of the whole movie, though, does put CNBC in its rightful place of being extremely influential. As delivered by the detective on the rich guy’s heels:

“The guy who did it doesn’t get to walk just because he’s on CNBC.”

If only that were true.

© 2012 SusanGSays LLC