Because, as this film starts, Miller is glad-handing people about the imminent sale of his investment firm — when, in fact, the deal is being delayed by the guy who wants to buy it while he runs the numbers one more time. Miller, as it turns out, is a juggler, robbing Peter to pay Paul, staying one step ahead of the auditors, his creditors, his family — and, perhaps, himself.
“Family — it’s what really matters,” says Robert Miller (Richard Gere), or words to that effect, to a gathering in his posh Fifth Avenue townhouse that includes his wife (Susan Sarandon), grown children, grandchildren and friends, who have assembled to celebrate his 60th birthday.
Miller himself seems to have suffered internal injuries — but he drags himself out of the car, which is upside down on a deserted road in the middle of the night.
Even more crucial, Miller needs this deal and fast: His books mask a $400 million shortfall which only the sale can make whole again. He abandons the car and the girl and escapes into the woods. All of the tension has taken its toll, however — and when he dozes at the wheel, his car hits the median and flips, killing Julie.
So, in Nicholas Jarecki’s entertaining, if slightly schematic, Arbitrage, it’s only fitting that, in the very next scene, there’s Miller, nuzzling the neck of his French mistress Julie (former Victoria’s Secret model Laetitia Casta).
Message: Nothing is what it seems in this guy’s life. He finds a phone booth and makes a call to a young black man, Jimmy (Nate Parker), who comes and picks him up.
This review continues on my website.
Has he left evidence of his presence in the car? Can he be connected to this death? Can he keep it at arms’ length long enough to get his company sold?
But it all threatens to come crashing down one night. To placate his angry mistress, he tells her he’ll take her away — and then sets off with her in his Mercedes. That’s true not only of his personal life but of his professional dealings.
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. Held up at a business dinner to finalize the sale — a dinner at which the deal never comes to fruition — he’s late to a major gallery opening that Julie is overseeing
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