Monday, 24 September 2012

REVIEW - ARBITRAGE


A film that attempts nothing new and gets nothing wrong. It's plain, not entirely straightforward, and concerned more with the people involved in its dramatic story than the story itself. If, by the end, you feel as though things haven't gotten very far narratively, you've missed the point. But writer-director Nicholas Jarecki spells things out rather too clearly much of the time, and without the kind of brio or stylistic ingenuity to allow the film to develop some character. He also struggles to find a focal point for his plot, despite the obvious central character, and each supporting character seems to play an independent part in his life, presenting problems each in turn, which are either dealt with or prematurely (from our perspective) dismissed each in turn. Imagine how much more intensity could have been built had Jarecki found a means of intertwining the numerous subplots, thus creating a more riveting, if conventional, structure. Never mind that conventionality anyway, this film is full of it. The actors don't push the intensity particularly, which may not aid the film but neither does it harm it. By and large, they embrace the lack of detail apparent in their character briefs or in the screenplay, and deliver sensible performances in believable roles. So, nobody's going to win any Oscars for this, then, but nobody's done a bad job either.