‘Arbitrage’ taps ’70s style, current events

Courtesy PhotoOn the set: Richard Gere

Courtesy PhotoOn the set: Richard Gere

It’s no surprise that Nicholas Jarecki’s excellent feature directorial debut “Arbitrage” looks and feels like a 1970s film.

“Arbitrage” tells the grown-up story of a hedge fund manager, Robert Miller (Richard Gere), fighting to save his fortune while trying to cover up a fatal accident.

Jarecki, recently in The City to promote “Arbitrage,” which opens today, says he was just 15 when he read Sidney Lumet’s book “Making Movies” and decided to become a director. He became fascinated with ’70s films such as Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon,” as well as “The Godfather” and “Chinatown.”

But after attending New York University film school, he couldn’t find work. He decided to interview 20 film directors about their first experiences and publish the results as a book (“Breaking In”).

Writing the book taught him that filmmaking is “not for the faint of heart. You had to be so committed to this that only your death would prevent you from making a film,” he says.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 12px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

Afterward, he followed director James Toback (another ’70s icon) on a film shoot of the documentary “The Outsider.”

Jarecki settled down to penning scripts, and wrote 10 that went nowhere. An 11th, “The Impostors,” was made into a 2009 movie, but was drastically different from what Jarecki had written.

Beginning his 12th, with an understanding of the business world through a former job as a computer engineer, he read about the economic collapse and at first considered writing a story about a Bernie Madoff-like figure.

“He was too limited as a character,” Jarecki says. “So I went back to the classic Greek tradition and tried to create a flawed hero who was once a great man. His hubris gets the better of him.”

After accepting the role, Gere and other cast members began rehearsals and rewriting.

“We all stayed in my apartment for a month. Richard would make tea. They’d be talking, I’d be typing,” he says. “It gave us time to make these relationships seem real.”

Jarecki’s advice to them was: “I want you to do what you would do. I’ve seen this movie in my head. I’m bored of it, frankly. We’re here to make a new movie. I want to see your movie.”

Above all, Jarecki insists “Arbitrage” is not an “issue film.”

“I’m here for you to have a good time,” he says. “We had a screening with people yelling at the screen. I grew up watching 42nd Street films, and it was so gratifying to see that.”

ArbitrageartsMoviesNicholas Jareckisidney lumet

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City College union deal staves off layoffs, class cuts

One year agreement allows community college time to improve its finances

A Homeless Outreach Team member speaks with homeless people along Jones Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed proposes another street outreach team to divert calls away from police

San Francisco would launch a new street outreach team to respond to… Continue reading

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

A worker sets up irrigation lines to water almond tree rootstocks along Road 36 in Tulare, Calif. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Gov. Gavin Newsom extends drought emergency to 41 California counties

Faith E. Pinho Los Angeles Times In a stark indication of California’s… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stimulus plan on Monday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner file photo)
More Californians would get new $600 stimulus checks from the state under Newsom plan

Sophia Bollag The Sacramento Bee Two-thirds of Californians would get an extra… Continue reading

Most Read