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Arbitrage Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 107 Mins.
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 21, 2012
  • List Price: $24.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Richard Gere reemerges as an acting force to be reckoned with (the role has garnered him a Golden Globe nomination) in writer/director Nicholas Jarecki’s feature debut, Arbitrage. Gere plays Manhattan hedge fund manager Robert Miller whose life of luxury and peccadilloes is about to get turned upside down. On the eve of his sixtieth birthday, Miller is in the midst of a high-stakes deal to sell his company, but it may fall through despite the crooked accounting he’s been hiding from his family and daughter, a partner in his firm, to prop up its value and make it seem more desirable. But with the company actually bleeding cash, Miller makes a misstep in his private life that threatens to expose both his business and personal misdeeds. A late night drive with his art dealing mistress (Laetitia Casta) leads to a terrible car accident and her death. Rather than risk scandal, Robert runs away and phones an unexpected acquaintance, the young black son, Jimmy (Nate Parker), of his former driver, to help him out. The coverup lands the young Jimmy in hot water with the police, and Robert’s future in the hands of this young man he’s unsure of whether or not he can trust.

As a thriller, Arbitrage fails miserably, but as a look inside the corrupt scruples of the Wall Street elite or “1%” as we’ve come to know them these days, Jarecki’s screen play is certainly enticing cinematic work. Richard Gere plays an excellent antihero whose manipulative behavior, even in the face of ruining his own daughter’s career, still never manages to make us hate him outright. He’s despicable, but flawed, charming, and vulnerable. Susan Sarandon, sadly, is not used as she could have been as Miller’s wife, apparently there from the start before the big bucks were rolling in and now just caught in the crossfire. Jarecki’s eye behind the lens is sharp, creating a warmth out of the typically cold, steel and concrete world of Manhattan and Wall Street, opting for glowing midtones, ambers, and earth tones indoors, and a slick, even tempered, slow building story arc.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Arbitrage was shot on a variety of Kodak 35mm medium to high speed film stocks (Vision3 200T 5213, Vision3 500T 5219, Vision2 Expression 500T 5229), and while this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from Lionsgate isn’t exactly the ideal high definition reference material with its somewhat muted color palette, very high presence of grain, and somewhat soft appearance, it does look natural and film-like at all times with no artificial enhancements or post-processing misdeeds apparent.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is mellow and straightforward, being a dialogue-driven mix. The surrounds offer low-level atmospherics while the front channels handle the bulk of the sound. It works for the material, providing clean dialogue and a modicum of directional panning, but it probably won’t be a home theatre showcase anytime soon.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

While the supplements are all offered in high definition and a director commentary is included as well, nothing here is required viewing or listening, I’m afraid to say.

The supplements:

  • Feature Commentary with director Nicholas Jarecki
  • A Glimpse into Arbitrage (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:22) – A very brief look at the themes of greed and deception that drive the story in Arbitrage.
  • Who is Robert Miller? (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:02) – Richard Gere and others discuss the character of Roger Miller as some behind-the-scenes production footage and selected scenes are interspersed.
  • Deleted Scenes w/optional commentary (1.85:1; 1080p/24;00:10:08):
    • Robert’s Disappointment
    • Rumors in the News
    • Reina Questions Jimmy
    • Dead End Evidence
    • Is the Money Worth It?
    • Brooke’s Realization

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Even as Richard Gere deserves recognition for his role in Arbitrage, the film on the whole does not reach the levels of films we’ve seen before in this genre, like Wall Street, Margin Call, or even the docudrama Too Big to Fail. Instead of that epic scope, Arbitrage is more a look at a flawed man who works his way into a much-deserved bad situation. Still, it is an enjoyable watch, though slow at times.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
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Purchase Arbitrage on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Arbitrage

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]


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1 COMMENT

  1. It looks pretty good overall, and 4/5 isn’t bad for a movie that barely got noticed at the box-office. Until I read your review though, I was on the fence about watching Arbitrage—mainly because although one of my coworkers at DISH loved it, one of my friends hated it, and generally I agree with both of them on movies. So it’s definitely not going to be a movie I buy without watching first—not that I do that often anymore anyway. I used to blind-buy movies all the time but then after ending up with two shelves of discs I’ll never watch again, and realizing how much money that I’d spent on them, I decided to change my habits. Nowadays I use DISH’s Blockbuster @Home to rent all my movies before I buy them (that is, if I didn’t see it in the theater). And with Blockbuster @Home I get over 100,000 titles by mail and thousands more streamed to my TV and PC. And since it’s a flat pay-by-the-month service, it’s saved me from adding to those shelves of movies I’ll never watch again, which at fifteen to thirty bucks a pop adds up!

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