|Even though I am going to bash the film because of its viewpoints, technically, the film is well-done and Gere gives a great performance, as does Timothy Roth. At the bottom of the poster above, there is a car crash and Robert standing off to the side because he's "crashed" his life (a reference to the 2008 "economic crash" which we have seen referenced in films such as The Grey and The Collector). His mistress has died and he doesn't know what to do; it was a review on Internet Movie Database that made this a connection to Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick affair (which would be the second time this year it has come up in a film, the first being Man On A Ledge [please see Marie Antoinette & Ted Kennedy: Man On a Ledge for more] this incident involving Kennedy and the death of an innocent woman STILL being a bitter grudge for American's that justice was not served). Like Lawless, Arbitrage wants us to start seeing all private ownership and enterprise as illegal, or at least, criminal (please see Lawless & Brass Knuckle Tactics for more). The biggest problem is the film deconstructs itself on two levels: first, the police chief, played by Tim Roth, willingly makes corrupt practices to try and convict Robert, so the police department cant be trusted and secondly, the film blames capitalism in Russia for Robert's economic downfall (greedy and corrupt business men in Russia were inflating the price of copper and brought Robert's investment crashing down leaving him broke) but what Arbitrage fails to realize is that it's because of the long and grueling history of corruption in Russia because of communism that would make such a situation plausible today, not corruption caused by capitalism which is what the film wants us to believe but can't prove (we have all ready seen this in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, The Chernobyl Diaries and will most likely see it in February in A Good Day To Die Hard with Bruce Willis). Reviewing this film so long after its theatrical release and now that it's out on Redbox, we do have an advantage in Les Miserables because in that presentation, we see the climax of a good business man: Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman; please see Les Miserables: Enrichment for more). For those who are Christians, it's easy to point out the problem of capitalism--like Adam Smith, author of The Wealth Of Nations--as being a greed that is not truly self-interested: when you don't know yourself, which is what Christianity teaches and is illustrated in Les Miserables, you know where your true interest lies; whether you live in capitalism or socialism, you are going to make the same mistakes, but it's easier to repent in capitalism because it doesn't outlaw religion like socialism does.|
Let's start with art.
BANG! The Artist & the New Agenda In Film for more), but Arbitrage (like all the pro-socialist films of today) can only attack capitalism, it can't offer a positive image of art under socialism (can we say, "propaganda?") so what Arbitrage does show us is capitalism (symbolized by the multi-millionaire Robert) "screws" art (the affair with Julie, the artist). Where Arbitrage fails to make a convincing argument here is that, while Robert obviously uses the artist for his own sexual gratification, she uses him as well for her career, and that is a point Arbitrage probably wants us to miss, only feeling sorry for her as a "victim" of the ruthless business man who doesn't really care about her paintings, just her body.
What about his daughter, Brooke?
|Sadly, Jimmy (Nate Parker) all ready has a bit of legal trouble and coming to pick up his deceased father's former employer after the car wreck only compounds the situation. Jimmy gets into a tough legal position which Robert manages--by hiring an expensive lawyer--to get Jimmy out of, but only barely, then adds insult to injury when offering Jimmy money for helping him. THAT is all made yet worse when Jimmy tells Robert that he and his girlfriend are going to open up an Applebee's and Robert has no idea what that is. Why does this situation happen? To drive home to the black population that rich white people still use them just like in the gold old days of slavery (think Calvin Candie in Django Unchained; please see Flesh For Cash: Django Unchained for more). Arbitrage shows us how Jimmy's loyalty, trust, integrity and life are taken advantage of and of no concern to Robert except how they can benefit him and keep him from being exposed.|
When Robert gets up to give his speech, and stands before everyone as an upstanding citizen, we know he is guilty of numerous crimes but gets off and we are supposed to be outraged that nothing will be done by anyone; why not? Socialists argue that "the masses" (to which both you and I belong) are completely dumb and we have no free will of our own and no conscience, neither do we have the ability to make good solid moral decisions because we are corrupted by a love for money and material luxury goods, hence, we do what we must in order to keep up that "addiction" to luxury goods and money, i.e., to maintain our lifestyle. At the end, everyone Robert has encountered (even the cop trying to prosecute him) has sold their soul to protect Robert for the money they are getting in one way or another, and socialists argue justice can't happen until we all break those ties (our addiction to wealth and consumerism) or capitalists such as Robert will continue to get away with it.
Do you agree with this?
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter argued that vampires (symbolic of capitalists) can't kill one another, only a "living person" can kill a vampire (someone alive with indignation that they are working for someone else and that isn't "natural"); Arbitrage seems to support this because Mayfield, the other business owner (read: "vampire") trying to buy Robert's business realizes Robert cooked the books but fails to bring Robert to justice as well, because (according to socialists) capitalists all sleep in the same dirty bed. Like Mayfield, we the viewer are the "buyer" in the film, and if we "buy" into what Robert is selling us about the virtue of the upper-class and capitalism (according to Arbitrage, not myself) we are going to be duped the same way. We have the chance, according to the film, to "bring the curtain down" on the 1% is we chose to do so. You and I have to ask, "Does the film make accurate arguments and offer a convincing alternative?"
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner