Boiler Room (2000)
Written and directed by Ben Younger, Boiler Room has the benefit of being inspired by the filmmaker’s own time with a brokerage firm – during which he interviewed various colleagues – as well as the stories he was hearing at the time about Oakmont Stratton, of The Wolf Of Wall Street fame. This basis in reality gives the film a difficult, uncomfortable feel – as the ugly truth of the finance industry is laid bare.
It boasts a notable cast, featuring Giovanni Ribisi, Nia Long, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, Tom Everett Scott, Ron Rifkin and Jamie Kennedy, and puts each of them to good use in dramatic scenes that are sometimes reminiscent of 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross. The plot of Boiler Room centres on a morally compromised young man, who seeks redemption by bringing down the brokerage firm he works for, after observing questionable practices. The lead role of Seth is played by Giovanni Ribisi, who begins the film running an illegal casino from his apartment, and ends the film having destroyed a corporation for the greater good.
Boiler Room is, above all else, efficient, and the wider cast create such a compelling narrative that the central role almost disappears – becoming a lens through which we can observe the truth of this industry for ourselves. This almost voyeuristic detachment reflects the distant attitude the brokers apparently have toward their ‘clients’ – which arguably adds to the issues created.