Tuesday, October 30, 2012


noun /ˈärbiˌträZH/ 
The simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset.
Dumb this concept down one or two more shades and I think I'd still be scratching my head. I don't have a head for money or strategy, and the only use I think I'd have with a functioning knowledge of either is to avoid being taken advantage of. White collar crooks have been getting away with the dirt they do for years because, on the whole, that dirt is beyond the ken of most basically functioning people. And it's hard to villainize someone for something you don't have a tight grasp on. In recent years, however, that esoteric dirt has become so egregious and ignoble that us head scratchers are starting to realize we need to smarten up.

In Nicholas Jarecki's first major film, Richard Gere (who, though Buddhist and probably a good dude, I think works best a slime ball) plays a hedge fund manager who has monkeyed with his company's books to cover up a major boner he pulled. Running parallel with his financial skulduggery, Gere flees a car crash that kills his mistress. The crash and Gere's role in it become a sort of tangible example of the financial deceit.

I can't help but think that our notions of right or wrong are mostly empathetic. If we can imagine ourselves doing something or having something done to us, then we can better form an opinion about it. But when crime is committed outside the spheres of our knowledge, reacting becomes difficult. Money and its movements are so ethereal it's hard to grasp the ethics of it. By coupling a financial thriller with a more recognizable one, Jarecki, I think, gets a stranglehold on that ether.

- Andrew

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