He's no more ethical at home - at night he kisses his wife (Susan Sarandon) good night, walks downstairs for a snack, and keeps walking until he ends up at the downtown loft of his Euro-mistress.
One of the subjects of "Arbitrage" is Miller's entitled belief in his own invulnerability. He behaves as though his money and power insulate him from misfortune, because it always has. That arrogance is tested when he's involved in a deadly accident, and in a panic contacts the son (Nate Parker) of a former employee to help him flee the scene.
Here the movie pivots, and Jarecki's portrait of a money/power and privilege in action becomes a grittier procedural, made by somebody who obviously grew up idolizing Sidney Lumet. Tim Roth is a nosy detective who knows that Miller is dirty and who is willing to cut corners to get him - applying pressure on Parker's character because, frankly, Miller is effectively above the law.
"Arbitrage" becomes a movie of investigative legwork and slick lawyering, with district attorneys and defense attorneys trying to game each other and navigate a system distorted by race, class, and privilege.
It's a thoughtful piece of work, but a little jumbled and in the end a little flat. What starts as a portrait of power turns into a thriller and then reverts again to Miller, a King Lear-like figure whose efforts to protect the family name end up tearing it apart (Brit Marling is his protégé daughter). It's a tragedy without tears.
Contact movie critic Gary Thompson at 215-854-5992 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at philly.com/KeepItReel.