5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The bonfire of the vanities,
This review is from: Arbitrage [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Here's a stylish, intriguing film about a man with everything - job, money, house, family - who is brought low by allowing his desires to overreach his ability or trust in good fortune. If you think this sounds all a bit like The Bonfire of the Vanities you'd be correct - in fact, the two stories share roughly the same locations in Manhattan. This, though, is a much better film than the one which was made from Tom Wolfe's excellent novel. Richard Gere is compulsively watchable as the central character as he tries to outsmart the police, his business rivals and his family: the fact that we're rooting for him to succeed in spite of the fact that his actions and character are not of the highest ethical quality is a strong testament to his acting skills.
The work of the rest of the cast is of a similar high standard - I particularly liked Tim Roth's detective, and the way his confidence visibly drains from him as he thinks his quarry is slipping through his fingers. In fact, this might be the sort of film where there are a few too many good actors; in particular, I could have done with seeing more of Susan Sarandon as the wife who isn't sure about what's going on. The setting is admirably filmed, with shots of the Empire State Building in the background just in case we've forgotten the location, and the portrayal of the luxury that Gere's living in (and fighting to stay in) will be fascinating to an audience who feel that their noses are no longer pressed against the window, but have finally been allowed inside. Where they discover that the rich aren't that different from everyone else, and that money can't buy love after all.