Giovanni Ribisi in Boiler Room (2000)

The Wolf of J.T. Marlin

Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi - Saving Private Ryan) has always sought his father's approval which is why he went to college, but college was not for him and after dropping out has been running a successful yet illegal casino from the back room of his home. It is through his gambling operation and old friend Adam (Jamie Kennedy - Sparkler) that he meets Greg (Nicky Katt - The Limey) and is seduced by their wealth as they are both senior brokers for a company called J.T. Marlin. Wanting the wealth they have Seth hands over the running of his casino to friends and sets about entering the world of stocks and shares by becoming a junior associate at J.T. Marlin. But as he climbs the ladder, proving himself a hard worker he finds himself not only questioning the tactics which he has been groomed to use but also suspicious of the way the business operates which seems more than a little shady.

It's been a few years since I watched "Boiler Room" and wrote my first review of it and since then we have had a few other movies which have explored the subject of financial fraud, most notably Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street", a biopic about Jordan Belfort. Now there is a reason why I mention "The Wolf of Wall Street" because it wasn't until I rewatched "Boiler Room" that I could see how this movie was influenced by Belfort's operation and many of the elements in this 2000 movie mirror those in Scorsese's much later movie such as listening to the way the junior associates learned how to always be selling on the phone whilst we also see the excessive way the senior brokers would throw their money around.

Vin Diesel in Boiler Room (2000)

And to be honest whilst the look at the fast paced life of selling stocks and shares is familiar it is still entertaining. But "Boiler Room" whilst giving us this glimpse in to the world of financial scams offers up another drama which is Seth's relationship with his father one which has lead to him trying to prove himself to feel some sort of love and respect from his harsh father. It gives the movie an emotional underbelly so that whilst we get to see the ruthless nature of the financial business and the way wealth changes people we also get motive for Seth's actions be it trying to get rich to the niggling doubts he has over what he is doing.

What this means is that there are two sides to "Boiler Room" and almost two sets of characters. On one hand you have Vin Diesel, Nicky, Katt and Scott Caan giving it loud and arrogant as they seek even more money. And they all play their parts well with Ben Affleck standing out when he delivers a speech to the new junior associates whilst Vin Diesel gives it large as he manipulates a doctor on the other end of the phone to buy. But then we have Giovanni Ribisi as Seth who does this wonderful thing of making him a kid who seeks wealth but you sense he also seeks more than just money and that provides him with that side where he is conflicted and questions his actions. It gives the character of Seth enough depth without being too heavy for what is a fast paced movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Boiler Room" is a surprisingly good movie which will appeal to not only those interested in "Getting Rich Quick" but those who enjoy those sorts of movies which delve into the world of finance without over complicating matters with technical jargon. It may not be "Wall Street" for a new age but it is worth a watch.