Sixty-year-old magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere) manages a hedge fund with his daughter Brooke (Brit Marling) and is about to sell it for a handsome profit. However, unbeknownst to his daughter and most of his other employees, he has cooked his company's books in order to cover an investment loss and avoid being arrested for fraud. One night, while driving with his mistress Julie Cote (Laetitia Casta), he begins to doze off and crashes; Julie is killed. An injured Robert leaves the scene and decides to cover up his involvement to prevent the public, his wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon), and the prospective buyer James Mayfield (Graydon Carter) from discovering the truth.
Robert calls Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), a twenty-three-year-old man from Harlem with a criminal record whom he helped get off the street in the past, and whose father had been Robert's driver for many years. After being driven home by Grant, Miller drags his injured body into bed at 4:30 am, arousing suspicion in his wife. The next day, he is questioned by police detective Bryer (Tim Roth). Bryer is keen on arresting Robert for manslaughter and begins to put the pieces together. Brooke discovers the financial irregularities, realizes that she could be implicated and confronts her father.
Jimmy is arrested and placed before a grand jury but still refuses to admit to helping Miller. Miller once again contemplates turning himself in. Even though Jimmy is about to go to prison, Miller tells Jimmy that investors are depending on him and that waiting for the sale to close before coming forward would serve the greater good. Eventually, the sale is closed, but Robert finds a way to avoid being charged. He proves that Bryer had fabricated evidence. The case against Jimmy is dismissed, and the detective is ordered not to go near him. Robert's wife tries to blackmail him with a separation agreement getting rid of his wealth. When Robert refuses to sign, his wife says that she will tell the police that he got into bed at 4:30 am on the night of the accident, bruised and bleeding but will tell them that he was there all night if he agrees to sign.
In the final scene, Robert addresses a banquet honoring him for his successful business, with his wife at his side and his daughter introducing him to the audience but their false embrace on the stage signifies that he has lost the respect and admiration of his daughter. As Robert approaches the podium to deliver his speech the screen cuts to black, leaving his decision ambiguous.Richard Gere as Robert Miller
Susan Sarandon as Ellen Miller
Tim Roth as Det. Bryer
Brit Marling as Brooke Miller
Laetitia Casta as Julie Cote
Nate Parker as Jimmy Grant
Stuart Margolin as Syd Felder
Chris Eigeman as Gavin Briar
Graydon Carter as James Mayfield
Bruce Altman as Chris Vogler
Arbitrage was a worldwide box-office success and is the highest grossing "day-and-date" independently produced film of all time.
As of 2014, the film had grossed over $49,458,056 in first-cycle sales to date (with $35,485,056 in ticket sales at the global box office, and a VOD North American gross of over $14 million).
The film also outperformed financially in several areas: it set a record as the highest grossing "day-and-date" release of all time, meaning it outperformed all other films released simultaneously in theaters and "on-demand". It also opened to a per screen average in the US in excess of $10,000, making it one of the highest per-screen average films of the year. It was the top film in Israel two weeks running and #3 in Spain two weeks running, nearing a Spanish theatrical gross of 5 million USD. It broke independent box office records in many other countries including Australia, the UAE, and Switzerland.
Arbitrage was praised by critics and has a rating of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 151 reviews with the consensus: "Arbitrage is both a tense thriller and a penetrating character study, elevated by the strength of a typically assured performance from Richard Gere." Many critics pointed out Gere's "conflicted performance" as a "career-best", and cited the screenplay, ensemble acting, and direction as high quality.
Arbitrage was nominated for 7 awards and won 4.
Gere was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama at the 70th Golden Globe Awards for his performance in Arbitrage.
The film won the following awards: National Board of Review - "Top 10 Independent Films," African American Film Critics Association - "Best Supporting Actor: Nate Parker," Hamptons International Film Festival - "Breakthrough Performer: Nate Parker"
It was also nominated for: Chicago Film Critics Society - "Most Promising Filmmaker: Nicholas Jarecki", Phoenix Film Critics Society - "Best Original Screenplay: Nicholas Jarecki", San Sebastian International Film Festival - "Golden Shell: Nicholas Jarecki"