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The year is 2000 and investors are going crazy about a new mobile phone company called Riot Entertainment. Many high profile companies, like Nokia, invest millions on this unknown firm. Two years later, when all the money has been spent and the company is bankrupt, the fun is over. What happened? Written by
Before the film's premiere at Helsinki International Film Festival, there was a legal threat posed to the authors aiming to ban the film from public screenings. This caused quite a stir and was reported also in Finland's largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat. Also, security staff was hired to the Helsinki International Film Festival premiere in case of violent outbursts from people involved in the documentary. See more »
Too frantic and MTV for some viewers perhaps but the material still makes it interesting and engaging
In the year 2000, six young Finnish men are at the cutting edge of mobile technology with their company Riot Entertainment. Investors such as Nokia and Rupert Murdock are rushing to their door with about $21,000,000 to get on with. Suddenly finding themselves the hot new property but with the requirement to now deliver on their investments, Riot start employing anyone, looking to be seen to be booming. They purchase the rights to film franchises for mobile conversion purposes and set out to deliver on their promises. Two years later Riot Entertainment is bankrupt and there is no money to be had anywhere. What happened?
The example of Riot Entertainment does rather show the huge risks and assumptions that exist within the models that currently make up what we call global economics. It always amazes me that an effective rumour could be enough to wipe millions off the value of a company and, conversely, good management of image and the figures can see a company become worth millions over a short period. Last year I saw a fascinating documentary on Enron and it was with a similar interest that I came to "Riot On!". From the start though, the ground rules are laid down as we are treated to a dancing woman over animated graphics and the narrator asking "where the f*** did all the money go?". It was here (30 seconds in) that I worked out that this film was very much going for the youth market rather than being a more serious documentary.
But there is nothing wrong with that as the approach god knows sometimes with this stuff if you don't laugh about it you only have the other option left available. The delivery is relentlessly MTV-style but mostly it works because it brings the story out well enough. At times I would have appreciated a bit more of a level-headed delivery but overall it works and indeed some stories are well brought out by animation in a way that talking heads would not have been able to (the story of the Lord of the Rings rights for example). The story was fascinating though and even the sometimes clumsy delivery cannot hide that. I was gripped to hear of their successes (and lets be honest, getting 7 year rights to LoTR for the amount of money that a premiership footballer earns in a month is a success) but also their greed and excess which saw them employing relatives, conmen, orgies in the sauna downstairs and so on. It isn't really a cautionary tale so much as an amazing look at what is possible if you are just really good at blagging.
The frantic MTV delivery may put off some viewers and indeed I would still like to see a more serious documentary on the subject for in a way the style does suit the madness and excess that the film informs about. Maybe not for everyone in style but the material makes it worth seeing if you know nothing about Riot.
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