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ARBITRAGE

Who Is Robert Miller?
Gere plays a charming, sophisticated billionaire. He's also a conflicted man, living outside conventional morality, who uses his wealth to make his own rules. He enjoys a graceful loving wife and a beautiful young mistress, he's good to his daughter and son, he's charitable, he's duplicitous -- he has everything he wants and more. "Miller wears his entitlement like he wears his suit -- easily, fitted, and well," notes Bickford. "It's this sense of entitlement you get throughout the film - because he is such a great benefactor, he can do as he pleases."

For many years, Miller succeeds in every respect, building his family, his wealth and his empire. He then suddenly becomes a product of the market that crashed in 2008. He's a man on borrowed time because he's crossed over the limits of what's acceptable. He was trusted with people's money and chose to make irresponsible gambles with it. "Miller's world starts to fall apart and as the delusion fades, the reality enters, very much like what happened to most guys on 'the street'," adds Jarecki.

"Miller isn't necessarily the guy who built the best mousetrap, but he's arguably the best salesman because he's so charming and a hard worker," says Jarecki. "But there's also something a little nefarious about him. He's not a rough-and-tumble street youth; he's a guy who pulls himself up from his bootstraps, makes his own identity."

The director never wanted to paint Miller as a villain. "He's a complicated man and I think we are all complicated," he suggests. "We all lie and cheat at times and we all do great things and selfless things. I believe altruism exists and its part of our DNA because we do things for others. So I think Robert is human but severely flawed and the film looks at whether he will ever give up the power he loves so much to preserve that one shred of humanity."

Bickford admits that this is one of the things she found appealing about the script.

"Miller's a guy we find charming and we're sympathetic to the fact that his mistakes might ruin his life, so we're never quite sure who's side we are on in the telling of this story. It's a very realistic moral corruption that can happen to people instead of a caricature of good and bad." Turen notes that Miller's decisions aren't always conventionally moral "but he thinks that it is more important to do the pragmatic thing given his love for his family and the obligations and responsibilities he feels for those around him. A lot of characters in this film are doing the wrong things for the right reasons-at least they see it that way."

"He loves his wife and children," Jarecki concurs. "And he also loves the thrill of having a mistress and living at the top of the world. The real question is does he love himself more? And I think in the beginning we expect that he does."

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