Boiler Room (2000)
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This is a great film, every second of this film is worth 9/10. I'll start with the films flaws. Firstly, the main character is very weak, I'm not sure whether it's poor writing or bad acting but he just comes across as an idiot rather than the deep, flawed, entrepreneur that the film wanted to portray. Secondly, even in the year 2,000 floppy disks were an ageing technology, without giving much away there's a scene where an entire companies data is copied to a floppy disk. The film includes a lot of central characters and doesn't provide any back-story for any of them, this wouldn't be so much of a problem if the central character wasn't so weak but by the end of it you feel as though you haven't seen a single character develop or even begin to understood any of the characters but you have just seen a good film.
Praise: This film is amazing. The film really captures the desires of society and gives them a face. The characters really convey the shallow two facedness you come across every day where they're happy and pleasant until something happens that could even remotely damage their cash flow. Every person you've ever met that wanted to make a quick buck is in this film, the consumerism and lack of social conscience that constantly plagues society is so prevalent in this film. It also approaches the topic of share trading from a much more accessible angle, they don't put much effort into adding the right industry terms or showing scenes of the NY stock exchange - they show the consequences of share trading, the lack of understanding of the average consumer and give you a better understanding of where the money comes from. If you're anything like me then this film takes you on a ride where you are the main character every step of the way until finally you return to life with a much deeper understanding of the desires people succumb to in modern society. This film includes very young appearances by a lot of famous actors, Ben Affleck, Vin Diesel etc. who all pull their weight to give life to the film. I'm explaining the film in a very stale way but I can't help it, it's on par with 'fight club' - you can't explain why the film is good in a way that does it justice, just watch 2 hours of cinema that will improve your quality of life.
As Seth Davis, Giovanni Ribisi plays the lead in this film. While his performance is solid and adequate in handling the most screen time, he is not the star of the show. Ben Affleck (as Jim Young), Nicky Katt (as Greg Weinstein), and Vin Diesel (as Chris Varick) provide the standout efforts of this ensemble cast.
Affleck, in an ode to Alec Baldwin's character in "Glengarry Glen Ross," is slick-talking, persuasive, and funny at the same time. Along with his work in "Good Will Hunting," this is one of the best performances of his interesting on-screen career. The same can be said of Diesel who, for once, doesn't appear to be out of sync or awkward in the delivery of his lines. His performance is smooth and a very, very pleasant surprise.
Katt is the sleeper of the trio (seen in smaller roles in "The Brave One" and "Insomnia"), and I like his attitude and confidence in the Weinstein role. He showcases the ability to handle a significant workload, and it's unfortunate that he hasn't garnered more screen time in subsequent movies. I doubt he was too happy going uncredited in "The Dark Knight."
Getting back to "Boiler Room," youthful director Ben Younger does an outstanding job with pacing. This film blurs by without ever feeling too light or heavy, and Younger coaxes superb performances from his cast. The ensemble seems very comfortable working off each other, and Younger deserves credit for finding the right dynamic.
Unfortunately for Younger, like Katt, he hasn't found subsequent success. That's disappointing to me, because the former flashes a great deal of promise with "Boiler Room." It's one of my favorite lower-budget films of the decade, and it's a shame that it didn't make a little more money. When crap like "Transformers II" smashes in the box office, it makes you feel for quality movies that flop.
It is what it is though, and "Boiler Room" gets a big thumbs up from me.
The actors in here, while not huge by name alone, are quite good and keep your attention. As I said earlier, Ben Affleck intrigued me the most, perhaps it isn't so much him but the character he plays. He was the cocky-know-it-all-millionaire-playboy that cares about nothing but closing the deal. He is greedy, self centered and most of all damn good at what he does. He teaches the new recruits how to become ruthless and mechanically shut off emotionally. In his world of stocks, there is no place for feelings of guilt, sorrow or pity. In his world all you have time for is greed and anxiety.... anxious to cash you next $100 000 paycheck. Ben Affleck has a small role in the film but it is an effective one.
Giovanni Ribisi plays the good guy here, Scott Caan plays a young and wealthy broker that uses his wealth and power as a way to let go of his anger by constantly getting into physical altercations. But in an impressive smaller role, the one who impressed me the most was Vin ( Caparzo from Saving Private Ryan and also the lead in Pitch Black )Diesel. He plays his character ( Chris ) right down the middle. He wants Seth ( Ribisi ) to succeed but he doesn't seem as ruthless as some of the other brokers and at the end he does something incredibly noble in the face of imminent doom, and that is what I found compelling about his character. Most of the other characters are all driven by success and money and show little compassion, but Chris ( Diesel ) does have that side to him and I enjoyed Diesel's performance quite a bit in Boiler Room.
The story is also quite intriguing and it is both fun and a little horrific to get into the heads and lives of these men as they deliberately try to ruin people's lives in the hopes of bettering their own. They fraudulently sell normal people bogus stocks to bogus companies and it doesn't matter that the people they are selling to are family, blue collar workers that want so badly to believe the American Dream has just landed in their lap that they believe anything that these total strangers are saying to them over the phone. And that gives the movie it's edge.
Boiler Room is the best movie I have seen so far in this new year. Although the new year is not even 4 months old yet, this is one film that may have a chance to make my top ten list of films for the year 2000. This is the first film for writer/director Ben Younger and at the age of 27 it looks as though this guy has a good future in the game. Not that I am comparing Younger to Spielberg or Boiler Room to Jaws, but Steven was 26 when he made Jaws and look where he is today. Again, I am not saying that Younger is following in those footsteps but it is a great film for a guy that is three years less than 30. I highly recommend this film to everyone!
8.5 out of 10.... a great triumph for Ben Younger and all involved.
Our protagonist in this film is Giovanni Ribisi who's a kid that I can somewhat identify with, one who can't seem to please his rather stern father, Ron Rifkin, who also happens to be a federal judge. He'd like for Ribisi to get into traditional professions like law or medicine, but Ribisi is a child of his era and is on the lookout for a quick buck. That he gets from his current endeavor which is running a small casino out of his apartment. Though illegal Ribisi runs it honestly, but that fact makes no never mind to Rifkin.
One of his steady patrons, Nicky Katt, interests him in going to work at his brokerage house which is not located in the heart of Wall Street, but out on Long Island.
Gordon Gekko would be proud of this bunch, trained by Ben Affleck who lives the Gekko creed from Wall Street of 'greed is good'. But this crowd could never get in Michael Douglas's front door, remember what a hard time Charlie Sheen had in Wall Street. You've got your list of prospects, aka suckers, and you get on the phone and sell, Sell, SELL, but only what you want sold in a given period. The activity drives up the price and then it deflates, but not before the broker gives out. On Wall Street, it's called 'kiting' a stock.
Michael Douglas's Gordon Gekko takes us to the rarefied world of big time Wall Street corruption. These guys are the minor leagues of the same sport. Ribisi as he soon finds out was living more honorably as a casino entrepreneur. But he can't get out mainly because dad seems to have somewhat changed his attitude. And Rifkin's respect is all he wants.
Boiler Room works best during the scenes with Rifkin and Ribisi, their up and down relationship is the key to the whole film. Other performances to watch out for are Nia Long as the secretary clearing $80,000.00 a year because of her insider information, Vin Diesel as a cheery hedonistic sort of bucketeer, and Nicky Katt is a more intense variety of the same breed.
The one to really watch out for is Ben Affleck. It's a small part, but Affleck does wonders with it. Now this is a man who could really have made it Gekko's world and wouldn't have had the trouble that Charlie Sheen had crashing it or the conscience pangs after he discovers what it's all about. Affleck should have gotten Oscar consideration in the Supporting Actor category.
In fact the whole film is sadly overlooked, don't miss it if it is ever broadcast.
The way the company keeps their brokers hungry is by encouraging excessive spending, such as luxury cars, so they have to make even more money to keep up with the lifestyle.
Boiler Room has a group of young actors that all play their parts well. Giovanni Ribisi makes a good appearance, and Nia Long needs to be in more movies.
Ben Younger's film is about a guy named Seth Davis who runs an unlicensed casino in his apartment. In an attempt to go straight, he joins with this small finance firm outside New York City and after hitting success, he begins to realize something may be up with this firm.
This film is well-acted for sure. Who would have ever thought Vin Diesel would be in a movie like this with no action scenes but he still brings his intimidating pose here. Giovanni Ribisi does a solid job in the lead role. I really liked Ben Affleck here as well and he sure is one sleazebag here.
Overall, this is a really good film that was a little hampered by the ending. But with a smart script, great acting, and a tense atmosphere, this film gives us an interesting inside look on the corruption and greediness of Wall Street. I rate this film 8/10.
It's interesting that several compared this film to "Wall Street" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" - certainly the comparisons are valid - but someone mentioned a real-life comparison, to the Enron situation. The documentary I saw was "Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room" and I think that's an apt comparison as well.
The plot concerns a young man, Seth Davis, who makes money running a backroom casino. His father is a federal judge and the two men are distanced from one another, his father making it clear that he doesn't approve.
One night, a man comes into the casino and suggests a stockbroker job for Seth with a boutique company. Seth becomes a trainee there, and comes up against heavy competition and ruthless bosses and managers, one of whom is played by Ben Affleck and another played by Nicky Katt. He temporarily wins his father's approval as he learns how to "always be closing" with every phone call, and the art of the deal. There's just one problem - there's something a little odd about the place, and Seth can't put his finger on it. What he doesn't realize is that the business is under investigation, and the Feds have targeted someone close to Seth for information.
Interesting film and very well acted. What's scary is, this type of thing worked with Enron so I wouldn't say it's unrealistic. Greed is greed, be it in stockbrokers, corporations, or stock owners.
I felt like others, let down by the ending. I could have used another five minutes to wrap it up better.
SPOILER HERE: STOP IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE ***
Did anyone else think Seth's father set him up? Not out of anger or cruelty, but to get him out of the situation and help to bring this place down. I found it hard to believe that as a Federal judge he would go along with this IPO and say, on the phone, that he wanted to help Seth so he "wouldn't get caught" - and this is all recorded and played back to him when Seth is brought in. The Feds banked on Seth spilling his guts in order to save his father. One would think his father would believe it would go the other way and therefore wouldn't have agreed to it, but he must have seen how desperate this kid was for his love and gone along with the Feds. They were threatening to strip him of his position as a judge. Seth's father a couple of scenes earlier wanted nothing to do with Seth because it jeopardized his job.
It'collage drop out Seth Davis, Glovanni Ribisi, who's drawn to J.T Marlin after his father federal district court judge Marty Davis,Ron Rifkin, frond out that he was running an illegal casino out of his home in Kew Gardens Queens. Told by his dad to get himself an honest job as well as a nice Jewish girl Seth ended up doing the exact opposite in both cases! The job that Seth got at J.T Marlin was as criminal a any business run by the Mafia. As for a nice Jewish girl Seth's girlfriend turns out to be the non-Jewish $80,000.00 a year single mom secretary at the place Abbie Halpet, Nia Long. It's was Abbie who ended up, under pressure by the FBI, ratting her "lover" Seth in order to save her own behind for withholding evidence of stock & bond fraud at the brokerage house!
As for Seth himself he gets his honest federal judge dad Marty in the mix by getting him to reluctantly give Seth help in the trouble he got himself into thus implicating himself in his son's crimes! And soon Judge Marty finds himself facing not only disbarment but a stretch behind bars! All this trouble and heartbreak, in Seath's family, could have so easily been avoided if he just stayed with his illegal casino operation which his outraged dad made him give up for better things in life. Like a job at J.T Marlin where almost the entire crew that worked there ended up behind bars. With Seath, who like his girlfriend Abbie, ratting them out in order to save his own neck!
***SPOILERS***Like the famous saying by Michael Douglas as sleaze ball Wall Street "Master of the Universe" Gordon Gekko in the movie "Wall Street" that "Greed is Good" Seth Davis and his fellow shyster stock brokers found out it, unrestricted and criminal greed,is just the opposite. Banned for life in the financial world was the best thing that Seth got by ratting out low life stock broker crooks like himself.
Seth's dad was lucky to avoid jail time but lost his job as a well respected federal judge by just trying to help his not too bright son from ending up in the slammer ! As for Seth his only redeeming feature was getting one of his abused and cheated clients Harry Reynard, Taylor Nichols, his $50,000.00 in life saving back. It was the very naive and susceptible Reynard that Seth talked into investing in a company that didn't exist and was soon to go kaput. That was about the best thing that Seth did in his short career as an, or so he hoped, up and coming big time Wall Street stock broker.
Giovanni Ribisi's outstanding performance in Boiler Room is without a doubt his finest hour, an actor who is frequently overlooked and always underrated, Boiler Room gives the world a reason to finally recognise this actors outstanding ability.
A wonderful supporting cast comprised of Hollywood talent that would ordinarily be more wooden than Pinocchio, give this film the ability to flourish. Boiler Room is probably the first time anyone has ever considered for a moment that Ben Affleck is a good actor.
Ben Younger is clearly able to motivate in a way that no other director can. His clear and effortless style give this film a pace and feeling that veteran directors are still failing to create. His choice of soundtrack compliments the edit and helps the film flow seamlessly.
Boiler Room is a marvel to behold, a triumph in every sense of the word. You would truly be considered a moron if you passed up the opportunity to see this film.
Giovanni Ribisi delivers a great performance. He looks vulnerable to be the son who will never live up to the expectations. He manages to bring his inner moral conflict, which is something internal and hard to depict, very well through his facial expression and body. Giovanni Ribisi makes the film engaging because he captures viewers' sympathy.
"Boiler Room" is an engaging film that exposes the unscrupulous greed of financial companies. I enjoyed watching it.
I take 3 points away from this film because all of the sub-plots make no sense and the cinematography is terrible. (Out of focus so much my eyes hurt!).
Deserves a place on everybody's DVD shelf.
The big plus for this movie is Giovanni Ribisi, a very low key performance that added credibility to his character and drew sympathy from the audience. On the minus side, the constant barrage of profanity and the prejudiced views expressed by some of the characters was very offensive, and the uninspired soundtrack will not make it into my CD collection.
Not such a far out idea, especially when it bears such fine results as Boiler Room. What it's about, in short, is a youngster with a serious bad bone and just a tiny little bit of a conscience, Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi). Seth kicks law school because the illegal card game he's running out of his apartment is generating so much money, he's made it a 24-7 operation and there just isn't time for school. We're expected to believe Seth actually thinks his father, a federal judge (Ron Rifkin), should be proud of him for his accomplishments.
While I am by no means done ribbing this film, I will say that it is quite good. Any film that paints an evil portrait of those who sell things over the telephone is okay in my book, but there's more behind my approval than that. Seth's relationship with his father is explored thoughtfully and believably. Rifkin is great in this rare supporting role (he's usually stuck in character acting hell). I liked how Younger dares you to care about this robot of a man, then slowly peels the layers away.
Then of course, there's Ribisi as Seth, who really eats up the role of a fast-talking, built to sell young gun stockbroker. The character is so very interesting because he's too good at what he does for his own good. A person watching this film might begin to ponder what they would do were they in his situation. What if someone told you that you were `guaranteed to make a million dollars' inside of three months? The full version of this speech is delivered by the Alec Baldwin-ized Ben Affleck, who gets a lot of acting mileage out of his two scenes. He swears at the new recruits Seth is among; he bends them, breaks them, spits at them, mocks them, throws his car keys at them until they're ready to bleed for $150.00 a week.
This brings me to my biggest hang up. It seems to me that half that conference room would be clear of people halfway through Affleck's tyrade. Here's the larger problem, though: The way these guys talk to potential clients over the phone! If the guy on the other end of the phone talked that way to you, would you really trust him with ten thousand dollars of your money? I am no Shirley Temple, but when a strange person says the f-word twelve times inside of a three-minute conversation, TRUST IS BROKEN DOWN. I doubt I'm the only one who observed this.
Boiler Room deserves the benefit of the doubt because it does what it sets out to do, which is, Get you thinking about the role of money in your life. You think about how there are just enough suckers out there to justify the existence of these persuasive, nearly abusive phone pitchmen. They can be anyone they want because you cannot see them. The trick is making you think you wanted to buy the shares all along. They get you to confess your dream to them, they re-package it, and then they sell it back to you. Wait, is it just me or does that sound a lot like the movie business? Even so, go ahead and buy a ticket to Boiler Room. You won't feel like a sucker.