Plot: What’s it about?
With almost every movie, it seems, being remade or updated, it was only a matter of time before we get to movies that we didn’t think were that old. While Boiler Room is certainly a remake or updated version of “Wall Street”, which is ironically featured in the movie, it’s definately a wannabe. Now, Boiler Room impressed me in a good way, so don’t get me wrong. Going into the movie, my preconceived notions about it was that it was like a Junior League of Wall Street filled with twenty-something actors. I was basically right. Featuring a suprisingly good cast, with the likes of Ben Affleck, Jamie Kennedy, Scott Caan, Tom Everett and the lead of Giovanni Ribisi, the movie has a very New England type feel to it. This makes sense as it concentrates on Wall Street (or thereabouts). The actors all have the look and feel of this most unique area of our country and it gives it all the more of a feel and tone that one would expect. Wall Street it isn’t, but it’s not nearly as bad as you might think…or heard.
The movie follows the rise and eventual fall of Seth (Giovanni Ribisi). He comes from a Jewish family, where his father is a judge. Seth has dropped out of school after his first year and has decided that it’s more profitable to run an illegal casino out of his aparament. We’re not talking a few hands of poker here and there either. They have tables, chips…the whole nine yards! As illegal as it is, we see that Seth is very enterprising and a very good businessman. Of course, when he tells his family about this, his father is less than impressed and it’s another downward step in their relationship. Enter Adam (Jamie Kennedy) and Greg (Nikki Katt). Adam is an old friend of Seth’s and he and Greg are out to offer him a job in their hotshot brokerage office. Knowing that Seth is streetwise and very smart, they figure he would be a natural in the stock market. They’re right. We next see the process of recruitment, headed up by none other than Jim Young (Ben Affleck), if you get this movie because you’re an Affleck fan, then I’ll tell you he’s only in it for 10 minutes tops. Young, an energetic, head of recruitment for the brokerage firm hypes them up and tells them of the promise of their many millions of dollars that has their name on it if they only stay with the firm for a few years. Millionaires are made here.
The new employees are taken under the wings of their new mentors, the Senior Brokers, and it’s Seth who is taken under Greg’s care and the two instantly clash. Eager to earn his millions, Seth shows a very promising improvement very quickly, and it’s no time that he’s well on his way to being a millionaire just as promised. So this is all great, right? Eventually, Seth discovers how they can all be making money, they hype up stocks that don’t deliver and thereby end up ripping off their clients and keeping the profits for themselves. Illegal no (but just barely legal), immoral yes. It’s this immorality that tears Seth up and forces him to make a decision to continue or quit his newfound job.
Boiler Room is a fast-paced thriller that had me by the end of the opening credits. While a mainly “Gen X” cast, they’re well suited for their respective parts, especially Nikki Katt, an actor that is gaining much respect in my book with every part he takes on. While profanity abounds, you learn to ignore it and concentate on the plot. As was mentioned earlier, Wall Street it’s not, but a very good, fast-paced movie it is. I recommend it.
Video: How does it look?
The 1.85:1 anamoprhic image looks great. The movie was shot on location, all of it, so the scenes have a very naturalistic feel to them. All except the brokerage house. The brokerage house is shot in a sort of bluish, corporate type of light that makes it different from the rest of the movie. A nice touch to show the blandness of the corporate environment. While I saw no artifacting or compression errors, there was no shimmering and I can’t really imagine how much better a picture could look. While it lacks the bright visual clarity of “Starship Troopers”, this is one fine transfer and it looks great on DVD.
Audio: How does it sound?
Though not a movie for audio, Boiler Room carries with it a very strong soundtrack, one that left me impressed. Featuring a “rap” soundtrack, the speakers are alive and kicking throughout most of the movie. The surrounds were evident, but it’s not a soundtrack that left me thinking “Wow…”. Still, a decent soundtrack is something that a lot of DVD’s don’t have, and the addition of an isolated score (with commentary none the less, a la “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure) was a welcome treat.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Though it lacks the “Platinum Series” label, Boiler Room has more than it’s share of extra features. The most obvious feature, of course, is the feature-length commentary with director Ben Younger and lead actor Giovanni Ribisi. While it seems that Ribisi takes control during the commentary and Younger eventually gets a word in, I found it more interesting hearing the actor than the director. Alongside this is another commentary, except this is on the isolated score, another interesting touch. In addition to the standard production notes, cast bios and a trailer, deleted scenes are included as well as the film’s original ending. In my opinion, a strong DVD and it should set a standard for “non” special edition DVD’s.