Robert Miller (Richard Gere), a hedge fund manager, is giving a television interview. As his wife, Ellen (Susan Sarandon) looks on, Robert tells the interviewer why he took a huge bet on the housing crisis on the biggest boom in housing anyone had ever seen. His parents, who made it through the Great Depression, taught him the mentality that bad things will always happen. He says that the world is a constant competition over a fixed amount of money so it’s no surprise that the bubble has burst.
On his private plane, Robert goes over numerous forms with his consultant, and they discuss putting off the signing of documents in order to consult their auditors. His plane touches down, and he returns home where his children and grandchildren wait to celebrate his birthday. A giant cake is brought out, and Robert blows out the cake with the help of his grandchildren. He tells his family that he loves them very much and that they are his greatest gift he could ever ask for. His son jokes that Robert selling his company to Standard would be a close second which Robert confirms but insists that there will not be any talk of business tonight.
After the cake, he goes off to a side room with his daughter, Brooke (Brit Marling), and she asks why he’s selling the company since they make a great return. She points out the last time Robert gave a speech like the one he gave at dinner, he had just lost a bid on a contract with Firestone. Robert brushes off the remark so Brooke shows him a copy of Forbes with his face on the cover which he promptly tosses. He tells her that he wants to spend more time outside the office with Brooke and her children, but Brooke confesses that she can’t imagine what they would do.
Robert leaves to go to the office, but Ellen stops him, reminding him that he hasn’t gotten his birthday present yet. He kisses her and tells her that he’ll be back as soon as he can. He takes a cab to a different part of town and rings a buzzer. He enters the apartment of a young woman, Julie Cote (Laetitia Casta), and kisses her lightly on the cheek before she pulls away sharply. He apologizes for being late as she lights up a cigarette. He promises that he will be going to her show and she surprises him with a homemade cake. She spreads frosting all over his face before they start to have sex around her apartment.
The next morning, Robert arrives at the office of associate Jeffrey Greenberg (Larry Pine). Jeffrey is not pleased that the 412 million dollars he put into Robert’s account so he could pass his audit has been sitting there for 32 days, instead of what was initially going to only be 2 weeks. Robert promises to get Jeffrey his money and a fee as soon as the company signs his contract. Jeffrey then makes it clear that Robert’s lie could land him a sentence of a thousand years in prison because Robert was stupid enough to sink all his money into a copper mine investment. Jeffrey makes it clear that he will be taking back his money from ESCROW by Friday.
In his limo, Robert receives a text from Julie telling him that she’ll see him at 8. He then gets a call from his associate, Gavin, who tells him that they have secured a meeting with Mayfield to go over the papers. At home, Robert struggles to choose the right look for his meeting. Ellen tries to find out what’s going on with Robert since he seems nervous and he tells her that they’ve been holding off on signing. She tells him that confidence will equal a contract and asks if they can go on an adventure after he signs the deal. He tells her that they don’t have the time, but she tells him they can afford to take a year. They have the money. She asks him about a $2 million pledge for a Gala event, but he says that things have gotten screwed around with thanks to the merger. They reminisce about before they were wealthy, buying cheap all you could eat meals at local restaurants when Robert’s ride arrives.
Robert goes over the paperwork and texts Julie to let her know he’ll be visiting soon. The Mayfield consultants are already at the table with Brooke, but Jim Mayfield isn’t at the meeting. Robert’s phone keeps going off, attracting Brooke’s attention. The meeting drags on for hours and eventually Julie texts him “Fuck You.” Two hours later, and Mayfield still has not arrived so Robert starts to leave. Brooke tells Robert that she’s noticed some irregularities in the books, and he promises he will look at it tomorrow.
He arrives at an art show where Julie is exhibiting some work. While Robert looks for her in the crowd, Julie does cocaine in a partitioned area. She mingles as Robert spots her. He approaches her, but Julie walks away, upset. Robert walks over to the owner of the art show and buys three of Julie’s paintings but has the woman swear not to tell her.
That night, unable to sleep, he goes in his den to go over paperwork before finally sneaking out. He sneaks into Julie's bedroom through the back and asks her to get rid of her guests from the living room. Apologizing, he tells her that he has obligations, but she doesn’t care because he only ever comes when it’s convenient for him. He apologizes again, and she demands to know why he bought the paintings. Robert insists that he liked them, but Julie calls him on his bullshit declaring “If I’m going to fail, let me fail.” He insists that if she wants to start a business she needs to project an image of success. If you show sales, they wonder “how did you do that” and that convinces them of value.
Julie runs to her bedroom to cry, realizing that he’s never going to be there for her. He lies down next to her and cuddles with her asking if she’d be willing to leave with him tonight without looking back. They decide to go up North to Maine. She agrees, and they pile into a sedan. While Robert drives, he starts to nod. Driving right into a card rail, he swerves violent, and the car flips. Julie’s throat is ripped open by a shard of glass during the accident, and she is killed instantly. He starts to type 911 into his phone when he realizes just how dangerous the situation is. He gets out of the car and realizes that he has broken some ribs. Robert stumbles away from the crash and towards the woods when the car explodes.
Arriving at the nearest gas station, he treats the bleeding cut on his chest with a cotton swab. He makes a collect call Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker). Jimmy wants to know what this is all about, but Robert doesn’t think it’s a good idea for him to know. As long as no one knows they were near the accident, they’ll be fine. Jimmy’s girlfriend knows that Jimmy stepped out, and Jimmy starts to get pissed with Robert declaring that he hasn’t seen Robert since the funeral and now he calls him up out of the blue asking for a favor. Robert angrily promises to give Jimmy money so Jimmy pulls over and tells Robert he can get the fuck out of the car and walk home if that’s how Robert wants to talk to him. Robert apologizes and Jimmy keeps driving.
The wreckage is found and Det. Michael Bryer (Tim Roth) is called to the scene. Bryer observes the scene and notices the driver’s side door has been kicked out, but the body has been positioned awkwardly due to the explosion. The detective deduces that someone else was driving and has his men search the area.
Jimmy drops Robert off at his house. Robert goes to the security room of his house and replaces the footage of his departure and arrival. He burns the discs and his clothes before changing into a t-shirt. He cries out in pain when he moves his arm, which attracts the attention of one of his live-in servants. Robert tells the servant to go back to bed as he returns to Ellen. Ellen rolls over groggily to ask where Robert went and he tells her that he went to go get some ice cream. Ellen smiles and reassures him that she loves him.
The next morning he consults his lawyer, off the record. His lawyer tells him that he needs to come forward and not hide the fact he was driving because he faces charges of involuntary manslaughter. Combined with the fraud he’s about to attempt, Robert is looking at a slippery slope. His lawyer is disheartened to see Robert going down the wrong path.
In his limo, Robert gets a call from one of his friends who works for the auditors: they’re going to approve the transaction which means Robert’s fraudulent sale of the company will go through. Gavin calls Robert immediately after and asks how Julie’s show was which catches Robert off guard. Gavin informs him that Mayfield is in the lobby of Robert’s company and that Robert wants to know why Mayfield hasn’t directly contacted them.
Brooke and Robert go over the Old-hill fund where Brooke points out there’s a 400 million dollar hole in the funds. Brooke doesn’t understand how that’s possible because they have 412 million in the account, unaware of the deal her father made to get through the audit. Brooke says that the books indicate half the company’s assets are missing. Det. Bryer arrives and asks to see Robert, so Robert asks Brooke to leave.
Det. Bryer asks Robert how he met Julie and Robert tells him that it was at a social event. Bryer takes note of Robert’s alibi and then explains that usually, in an accident like Julie’s, the driver stumbles away to get help but dies from internal injuries. He then asks if he can search Julie’s apartment since it is in the name of Robert’s company. Robert agrees before Bryer asks about the cut on Robert’s head. Robert tells Bryer that it was from a medicine cabinet this morning. Bryer isn’t convinced, but simply says “I hate when that happens” and shows himself out.
Det. Bryer’s next stop is Ellen’s office. He approaches her in the street and asks if he can talk about Robert. Ellen is in a rush to get across town, so she tells him to make an appointment. The visit rattles her. Bryer next goes to Julie’s apartment and tells his partner that Robert didn’t admit to the affair. His partner shows Bryer the phone records from the gas station and the connection doesn’t add up: if you’re a billionaire and you just survived an accident…the first number you call wouldn’t be based in Harlem.
Gavin approaches Robert about Julie’s death and lets him know that Julie’s mother is flying in. Robert tells Gavin to cover the expenses for Julie’s mother personally.
Jimmy is approached by Det. Bryer and his partner who take him off to be interrogated about the call. The detectives explain that he is an accessory, and despite his claims that the call was a “wrong number," it lasted a minute and a half. News reaches Robert about Jimmy’s arrest and Robert’s lawyer informs him that, with Jimmy’s prior offenses, he could land 5 to 10 years for obstruction.
Robert and his lawyer pick up Jimmy after he’s released. Jimmy screams at Robert for screwing him over when he’s trying to put his life back together. Robert assures him that they’ve got him the best criminal defense lawyer in the country. They assure him that Jimmy is just under suspicion. Jimmy points out he’s black so that doesn’t help. The lawyer leaves the limo and Richard explains to Jimmy that he’s having business troubles and shows him a folder concerning Jimmy’s late father. It’s a trust which contains 2 million dollars. Jimmy asks if Robert thinks money will fix this. Robert just replies “what else is there?”
Jimmy leaves the limo before he gets a call from his connection with the auditors: Compliance got involved, and the auditors are giving him a “non-recommend.” Meanwhile, Brooke goes onto the computer of the Miller’s accountant and calls up clients confirming that the numbers have been fudged. The accountant begs her to just leave the matter alone and she responds by firing him. The accountant insists that it was at Robert’s behest.
Det. Bryer finds the connection between Jimmy and Robert: Jimmy’s father used to drive Robert around in his limo before he died. Bryer’s superior tells them to put Jimmy in front of a grand jury because he’d break pretty quickly when he learns that he’s on the hook for 10 years in prison. Bryer goes to a public defender and asks for a warrant to search Jimmy’s apartment
Robert bursts into the office of his auditor and attacks him, demanding to know why the audit didn’t pass. His friend assures him the audit did pass, but Mayfield requested a hold. Robert is shocked but realizes Mayfield is trying to negotiate a better price. Robert calls Mayfield directly and tells him that they need to talk.
Brooke confronts Robert about the fraud and he explains that they lost it all. He confesses he put a lot of money into a copper mine project in Russia that was highly lucrative. It was making so much money, but the Russian government stopped him from exporting the copper, trapping the money in limbo which means he’d probably never see a dime of it. $400 million lost and the company on the verge of losing everything.
Robert insists that it was inevitable, but Brooke says that thanks to him that they could all go to jail. Robert says that he borrowed the money to plug the hole, sell the company, settle his debts with the investors and at the end of the day they might get to keep the house. Everyone wins if the company sells. Brooke, as the CFO, is also on the line she’ll lose her brokerage license if this scandal goes public. The argument devolves into a shouting match where he tells her that she can move against his plan or with it: as the patriarch he has to do it. Brooke bitterly says she thought he’d apologize. She storms off leaving Robert to sadly whisper “sorry.”
Bryer visits Jimmy and tells him to get into the car. Bryer says he isn’t threatening him, just asking him to get in the car. Bryer shows him all of the evidence he’s collected and Bryer tells him that he’ll be asking a grand jury to charge Jimmy with felony obstruction. Bryer tells Jimmy that to Robert, Jimmy is a throwaway disposable because Jimmy is the one person who doesn’t matter. Jimmy tries to leave, but the door is locked. Bryer assures Jimmy that Robert is going to get rid of him at the first possible moment.
Robert’s lawyer tells him that Jimmy will likely walk because a phone call is not tantamount to guilt. He then mentions Ellen going to an estate lawyer. This alarms Robert.
Jimmy is on the stand. He perjures himself by insisting that it is a phone call was a wrong number. The prosecutor gives him a photograph of Jimmy’s vehicle at a toll booth. Jimmy is blindsided at the faked image of his license plate on a toll camera. Since Jimmy didn’t go through any tolls, he knows the photo is a fake but the jury looks at him as if he’s lying to get out of trouble. Bryer approaches him afterwards and asks him if he’s ready to play ball.
Robert goes to Julie’s funeral where he meets Julie’s mother. She thanks Robert for allowing Julie to have a chance to shine and Robert cries that the accident wasn’t fair.
Brooke is running on a treadmill right next to Ellen in their house. Ellen asks what’s wrong when Brooke starts running faster without warming up. Ellen keeps questioning her until Brooke leaves suddenly to go to work. Ellen asks about the hospital donation, but Brooke tells Ellen that there are complications due to the sale. Ellen asks about the police visiting the office and the cut on Robert’s head and his stomach pain and why there isn’t money for the annual gift to the hospital. Brooke tells Ellen that she’s Robert’s daughter and needs to do what’s right for him, but Ellen tells her that Brooke needs to do what’s right for Brooke.
Robert approaches Mayfield at a restaurant. Robert insists he doesn’t need Mayfield and Robert tells Mayfield he’s ready to take his company off the table. He points out that Mayfield’s failed acquisition attempt will tank Mayfield’s stock. They settle on 525 million dollars for the sale of the company. Robert tells Mayfield that Robert wants to leave in 6 months and that he wants his children to be given salaried positions. Mayfield agrees, and Robert has him sign the back of a menu to consolidate the contract. Before he leaves he asks Mayfield how much he’d have paid: $600 million. Robert laughs because he would have taken 475. Robert is relieved that the sale is official.
Robert presents the sale to the board and receives applause and adulation. He’s made it out of the hole. As he leaves the office, he gets a call from his lawyers saying “it’s not good.” Robert immediately goes to Jimmy’s apartment.
Jimmy offers Robert a drink. Robert tells Jimmy that he told Jimmy not to take the toll, but Jimmy insists he didn’t he took the alternate route the whole way to Robert. Jimmy asks Robert where they got the photo and Robert doesn’t believe that they would make a fake. Jimmy asks Robert how much ten years is worth. Jimmy was going to buy an Applebee’s chain in Virginia and start a new life. Robert explains that if he were to admit to the accident, he’d be screwing over so many people. Jimmy had Robert’s assurances that everything would be made right, but they’re offering him a deal: no charges and he can walk away. The deal is on the table for 24 hours before they file a case Jimmy will lose.
Robert tells Jimmy to hang with him a little bit longer and leaves. Jimmy’s girlfriend tells him that Jimmy has to turn Robert in. Jimmy laughs, bitterly pointing out she told him to take the money. But that was to keep quiet. Not to go away.
In the car, Robert calls his lawyer and tells him to call the DA’s office to start paper work since the deal is official the arrest won’t derail it. He arrives home but finds Ellen gone. Lying in bed, Robert realizes how he can beat Bryer and save Jimmy.
Placing a call to Jimmy’s defense attorney, he gets the attorney to go through the same toll booth and drive straight to the department of transportation to get a print out of the attorney’s plates from the booth. Robert compares the photo used as evidence against Jimmy to the photo of the lawyer’s car. The lawyer’s plate is pixelated, but the evidence photo is clear a forgery.
Det. Bryer and the prosecutor are called to the Judge’s office and the Judge asks for the tape, but they’ve lost it. Because of the situation, the Judge seals the record for Jimmy because of the scandal and tells the Detective to stay behind. The Judge accuses him of faking the photograph and the Judge tells him that if Bryer can’t get Robert the right way it won’t mean anything. Bryer complains about the system, and the Judge throws him out. When he leaves he places a call to Mrs. Miller and tells Ellen’s secretary to tell her “Exactly how fucking stupid do you think I am?”
Robert and Jimmy meet at a restaurant to sign the trust. Jimmy says they are even but Robert tells him that what Jimmy did was worth a lot more than $2 million. They part as friends.
When he returns home, Ellen confronts Robert about his indiscretions and shows him the paper: she’s known about his cheating for a while and has tolerated it. But she isn’t going to any longer. She serves him papers which would transfer Robert’s control of the Miller estate to Brooke effective immediately. She tells him that if Robert doesn’t sign it, she won’t give Bryer an alibi. Robert tells her the world is a cold place. Ellen tells him that he’ll need a coat.
Mayfield and his CFO go to the Miller Oncology Charity dinner which will be awarding Robert an award. Mayfield’s CFO gives him a secondary audit which reveals the $412 million dollar gap. Mayfield is content, knowing that his shares will go up enough that the gap will easily be covered before it’s made public and that his company is stronger thanks to Robert’s weakness. At the ceremony, Brooke gives the opening speech while Robert realizes how much he’s lost. On the stage, he goes to kiss Brooke on the cheek, but she coldly walks away after he is handed his award. Before he starts his speech, he stares as she leaves him alone at the podium.
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
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Robert Miller (Richard Gere), a successful hedge manager, sinks his company into a 412 million dollar hole which will bankrupt his investors and ruin him. While his professional life is in shambles, his personal life starts to crumble when he accidentally kills his mistress in a car crash. Detective Bryer (Tim Roth) manufactures evidence against Jimmy (Nate Parker), the man who picked Robert up. Robert outmaneuvers Bryer and keeps Jimmy out of jail giving him 2 million dollars to keep the matter quiet. He successfully sells his company for 525 million dollars, covering the gap, and Mayfield considers the gap “manageable” when it is discovered. But at the end of the ordeal, Robert's wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) serves him with papers which would formally shift control of his entire estate to their daughter Brooke threatening to reveal Robert’s alibi is fake. Robert stays successful but loses his family in the process.
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