Boiler Room


Directed by: Ben Younger
Written by:Ben Younger
Starring: Giovanni Ribisi, Nia Long, Ben Affleck, Vin Diesel, Tom Everett Scott, Scott Caan, Jamie Kennedy, Ron Rifkin
Released: October 12, 2000
Grade: A

Money is all you need, well at least according to Seth Davis (Ribisi) it is.  Determined to be encompassed by wealth, Seth has even gone to the trouble of setting up an underground casino in his own home which is open twenty-four seven.  As easily as the money is pouring in, it’s still far from fulfilling his dreams and has cost him his relationship with his father (Rifkin), who as a State judge wants to distance himself from his son’s illegal activities.

Seth is introduced to Greg (Nicky Katt) by close friend Adam (Kennedy) who offers him a job at the New York stockbroking firm of J.T. Marlin.  At the interview, Seth finds himself exposed to a world he only dreamed of.  As employee Jim Young (Affleck) tells the budding hopefuls, you will make a million dollars within three years guaranteed.

It’s demanding but Seth fits straight in.  He develops the knack for pressuring potential purchasers and convinces them to part with their hard earned money for stock recommended by the firm.  Soon enough he’s rising up the corporate ladder but his intelligence senses that something is not quite right.  Why are employees shredding documents after dark?  Why is the boss setting up another organisation next door?  Why is it that no one has heard of J.T. Marlin?

Boiler Room is a very slick and sharp thriller from first time director and writer Ben Younger.  The story focuses not only on the firm but also its effect on the families of people affected, which offers a different perspective and creates feeling for them.  There’s a great scene where Seth tries to convince a self-employed, married man to part with his $50,000 life-savings to invest in stock with no chance of rising in value.  It’s heartbreaking to see the inner battle that both Seth and the gentlemen are going through - it’s a defining moment.

The ensemble is well cast with all of them young, arrogant entrepreneurs.  It must have been a field day for the costumers and make-up artists preparing their picture-perfect looks (it reminiscent of American Psycho).  A career performance was turned in by Ron Rifkin as the father who showed more than one dimension in a very realistic portrayal.

This film has a lot to offer and is edge of your seat stuff for its full two hours.  Certainly different, Boiler Room provides not only entertainment value but also a lesson in the treachery and danger fraught with playing the stockmarket and the depravity that some will go to make their own personal fortune.