Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Terrible Movie: Arbitrage- starring Richard Gere

The movie appears to be getting good reviews from critics, and I like Richard Gere as an actor, but as someone who understands finance, this film is totally absurd. Right from the start, or before the start, the film is dishonest, since there is nothing in the film about arbitrage, though that is the title of the film. Nothing. It's as if the filmmakers grabbed a finance dictionary and plucked out the first word they saw under "A".

In the film, the character played by Gere is a hedge fund manager, who made a bad deal by buying a copper mine in Russia. He is in the hole for $450 million. His plan to get out from under his losses, includes borrowing $450 million from a friend (as if this would happen in the real world), putting it in his firm while an audit is done, so the firm can be sold. Then he will give the $450 million (with interest) back to his friend and the buyer of the firm is not supposed to mind he has been defrauded by $450 million, when the $450 million is gone from the firm, because he will look bad!!

At the same time this insanity goes on, the married Gere has a girl friend on the side. He ends up crashing her car, killing her in the crash and somehow this means Gere is being investigated for her murder. There's no speeding involved, no drinking, just a car crash.

The murder investigation makes little sense, the financial tale told here makes even less sense, as in zero sense.

The only people that can buy into this tale are people who already hate Wall Street, but have no clue how Wall Street works. There are bad characters on Wall Street, but none of them would attempt anything like what is detailed in this film.

There must, though, be a lot of clueless Wall Street haters. Besides the good reviews from critics, at Rotten Tomatoes the  film is getting an 83% like rating.

As I said, there are bad guys on Wall Street, but most of them are in cahoots with Geithenr and Bernanke and cutting crony deals and preventing others from getting into the industry. But there is nothing about this in the movie. Indeed, there is nothing about real finance. It is a junk movie. Nate Parker gets off a couple of good lines in this movie and that's it. The real fraud is this movie pretending to be a film taking place in a real financial environment. The only time anyone should watch this film is when it is on cable and when they are sick, vomiting and have diarrhea, at 3:00 AM, and need something to do between trips to the bathroom.


  1. Haven't seen the movie, but for me in this trailer the most thrilling part was seeing Stuart Margolin, the character actor who played Angel in the Rockford Files. Loved that guy as an actor. His face on the screen brings back great joys and pleasures of watching the con go down in a Rockford file.

  2. It doesn't seem like that would be good medicine when I've got explosive diarrhea.

  3. The last line here tops the last lines in your speech at the NY fed, which were solid gold. My wife and I cracked up when we read it. Thanks for the laughs.

  4. Since it appears there are no female prostitutes, or at a minimum, gerbil cannons in this movie, I'll pass.

  5. You said, "...but as someone who understands finance, this film is totally absurd."

    Perhaps your understanding of finance does not include simple math. He borrowed $450 million from his friend to sit in his bank so he could pass an audit. He cooked his books to reflect where the $450 million came from. When he had sold the company for $525 million, he put $450 million of it back into the business, fixed the books and gave his friend back the $450 million plus whatever fee he had promised him. The person who bought the business did not lose anything and thus was not concerned about what the previous owner did to worm his way out of a problem. If he would have brought it to light, his newly acquired business would take a major hit.