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Overall Rating
3.9

Awesome: 22.96%
Worth A Look48.15%
Average: 25.93%
Pretty Bad: 1.48%
Total Crap: 1.48%

13 reviews, 57 user ratings


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Boiler Room
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by Wacoshade

"Familiar Plot But Fresh Execution and Style."
4 stars

The plot is simple. Boiler Room is basically constructed from the storylines of three better movies, Wall Street, Glengarry Glen Ross, and The Firm. Does that mean Boiler Room is a cookie-cut, pasted together, unoriginal waste of time to avoid because there are better flicks to watch? NO! It may get an F for originality of the premise, but Boiler Room gets an A for practically every other aspect of the film. The acting is fiercely captivating, most of the dialogue is biting and fresh, and the direction is suitably intense. The story-line may be simple, but it is intriguing because of the characters' passions and the rapid pacing of the plot.

The plot of Boiler Room involves Seth (Giovanni Rbisi), a young loner without much direction in life. Hoping to please his heavy-handed father, Seth goes to work for J. T. Marlin, a stock brokerage firm full of young and aggressive brokers whose bosses demand ruthless strategy and promise monumental remuneration to new recruits, "… you will make your first million dollars in 3 years." Seth is a natural at the hard-sell, and after a short time of quickly finding himself an up and coming successful broker, he realizes that what comes fast and easy for them also comes illegally and at great cost to some of his clients. Seth must deal with his conscience, Seth must deal with his father, Seth must deal with his co-workers, Seth must deal with his love-interest, and Seth must deal with government agents.

The 80's is usually seen as the decade of greed and avarice, especially in the world of high finance, but Boiler Room just goes to remind us that Gordon Gecko's values are not only alive and well, but they never left us. They are now embraced by a newer, younger, more self-aware, but just as callous, in-your-face crowd of energetic twenty-somethings who are not so much interested in power as they are getting rich quick. The first time director of Boiler Room, Ben Younger (who also wrote the screenplay), shows a knack for capturing the texture and essence of intense drama, and he definitely creates one of the most realistic brokerage firms I have ever seen onscreen. Younger creates an energetic atmosphere through his use of fluid and vigorous camera shots, intense yet uncomplicated editing, and a pulsating and rapid soundtrack. The pressure of the brokers' hard-sell tactics hammers your senses and the 'voice' of the film sticks with you for some time after watching the movie.

Why don't I hate the fact that this movie draws so much from other films? Because Boiler Room seems to be self aware of that very characteristic, and in the manner by which it copies these other films, it manages to do so out of respect and intuition, and that manages to give the characters added depth. Ben Affleck's Jim, one of the firm's bosses, is obviously a Gen-X facsimile of Alec Baldwin's Blake from the grippingly taught Glengarry Glen Ross. But, not only is the character and Affleck's portrayal of the character an obvious rip-off, Affleck's Jim himself tells us that this is specific and intentional in his lectures to the firm's recruits. The forceful and frantic macho greed of Glengarry is an ideal for the brokers of J. T. Marlin to covet and emulate. When a group of brokers hang out one evening around a big screen TV, they don't watch sports; they watch Oliver Stone's Wall Street and spout off their favorite quotes with the same enthusiasm as a barroom crowd watching Notre Dame and Purdue on the gridiron.

The acting in this movie is excellent. Affleck does well in his limited but commanding time onscreen, and Nia Long plays the firm's secretary simple and straight but with a definite inner turmoil in a few romantic scenes with Rbisi. Ron Rifkin has an icy role as the domineering father, and his scenes with Rbisi are emotionally impacting, especially near the movie's climax. The easy standouts are Rbisi and Diesel.

Giovanni Rbisi takes his first lead in a major picture and runs away with it, and although we lack some rationale as to why he is a sales "natural", we see a greatly drawn character with whom we can empathize. He gives a subtle performance and shows great depth in between his high pressure sales calls and his on-screen relationships. His strained and scarred relationship with his father, a judge who reminds him of his failings and offers little in the way of emotional support, provides a solid ground for Seth's character and his motivations during the movie. His involvement with Debbie (Long), comes about so easily and casual, that we accept it with a comfortable grin, and even though they talk about complications, they are relaxed and effortless together. And, if it wasn't for the easy chemistry between Long and Rbisi (which does advance a key point of the plot) that romance would be a major thorn in the movie's side…so to speak. The antagonism between Rbisi and his immediate boss (Nicky Katt) feels somewhat appropriate, and Seth's friendship with broker Chris (Vin Diesel) is naturally smooth, and the scenes between the two of them flow like a choreographed fandango.

Rbisi and Diesel both have major film careers ahead of them. For Diesel, this movie, as well as Diesel's Pitch Black, came out on the same weekend, and both movies show him in much different roles but with just as much talent. Diesel may be hefty enough in muscles and stature for his creepy leading role in Pitch Black to be easily acceptable, but he shows in Boiler Room that he has enough acting ability and charisma to match a wide range of roles. Indeed, one scene where Diesel hard sells stock to a wealthy doctor is watching a painter create wonder on a canvas. Well, maybe that last sentence was a little too corny and over-the-top.

In the end, this movie should heartily and energetically remind us that greed is not to be limited to the 1980's. People have always been greedy and will likely always be greedy; it's just that people and methods change with the times. To paraphrase King Solomon: what is, will be again; there's nothing new under the sun.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1715&reviewer=227
originally posted: 07/23/00 22:55:07
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell wall street 4 generation x 4 stars
7/06/10 PAUL SHORTT ENTERTAINING AND DYNAMIC 3 stars
6/10/06 William Goss 118 ways to sell bullshit and be a yuppie asshole. Meh. 3 stars
5/01/06 R.W.Welch Maybe a tad overdone but at least it's off the beaten path. 4 stars
12/14/05 Indrid Cold Cheesy but good ripoff of "Glengarry" and "Wall Street", both of which it quotes openly. 4 stars
4/18/05 Vince Ribisi totally rocked in this. All in all a solid effort, worth seeing. 4 stars
3/20/05 Tay Great film 4 stars
7/30/04 M If it wasnt for Vin this movie would go down hill.... fast! 4 stars
6/23/04 eivind it's good 4 stars
6/21/04 Rock Hound convinced me to open my own casino 3 stars
5/21/04 Sales God A fresh spin on an old idea. yeah its derivitive but well acted and executed (except Affle 4 stars
4/23/04 sealy Film was great, very fast, great stuff. Could have had more of a ending. 5 stars
2/22/04 s smith Premise is skewed, but characterizations are strong, sad thinly veiled lives. 4 stars
12/25/03 breadman DON"T pitch the bitch. I don't care if Nancy Sinatra calls. 5 stars
12/25/03 Tiffani Boiler Room is cool. It's Just so cool....The testosterone flows beautifully 5 stars
10/14/03 PJ Ribisi is the shit quit bangin on this film, great work by Ben Younger 5 stars
6/16/03 Boiler room guy I wish there were more movies like this. So real and yet not overdone 5 stars
6/09/03 R.W. Welch Stock scam pic has an authentic feel to it and is adeptly acted. Sort of educational too. 4 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Pretty involving until it piles on the contrivances. Vin Diesel is a standout. 2 stars
11/26/02 Stephen X - EXCELLENT - X 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 The way they inserted Wall Street into the film revealed its roots, but it was good anyway. 4 stars
9/04/02 movie guy A GREAT FILM 5 stars
7/27/02 Matt Crav Fuck Vin. Well, hes awesome, but Ribisi is great. Inspirational flick. This movie is great. 5 stars
7/10/02 Interrog8 Great film! Provides a genuine look at the late-90's stock market greed 5 stars
2/19/02 alicia morris any movie with vin in it is worth watching! 4 stars
1/30/02 jessica fowler it's my favorite movie...great acting by everyone! 5 stars
1/18/02 Chrisaidis Georgia It was really cool, not to say for Vin Diesel he is really sexy. 4 stars
11/27/01 Kathleen Greene The only thing that makes this movie viewable is VIN DIESEL. 4 stars
11/25/01 Senor Pescolido Ya know, i really wanted to like it, but it was far too clean and cliche. 3 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean Vin and Ben were hot. The part where they were watching "Wall Street" was stupid. 3 stars
7/31/01 Robert Vin is the man 5 stars
7/15/01 NasTKasT My Favorite Flic of ALL Time. Very pimp movie! 5 stars
6/30/01 tinkerbell142@aol.com such a good movie, def worth watching :) 4 stars
6/17/01 Dominique Dixon Parts with Vin Deisel in it were the only ones worth looking at. Racist jokes sucked!!! 4 stars
3/23/01 Yanick Forget Very good movie, great acting. 5 stars
3/16/01 Gideon If you dont see it you are missing out on a tight ass movie! 5 stars
2/28/01 Soggy Bottom Boy All the ingredients are there: good concept, great actors; they could have done more w/it. 3 stars
2/20/01 joh rich, young white guys use the word fuck a lot. Deisel is a damn cool actor 4 stars
10/31/00 Matt Redmond You do not deserve to review movies. 5 stars
10/05/00 Jed An alright movie funny though a bit laughable. 4 stars
10/02/00 Robin Hot men in suits! Ben Affleck is a major ++++ 5 stars
9/26/00 Sully Ben Affleck is the worst actor of our generation. movie starts fine, ends terrible. 3 stars
9/02/00 jetcat repulsive display of greed and too-skinny men; compelling nonetheless 4 stars
8/02/00 Jed I may need a 2nd viewing but overall it was alright. 3 stars
7/28/00 Davis Intelligent, doesn't pull any punches. Ribisi is a perfect hero. Best Movie of the Year 5 stars
7/18/00 Monday Morning Great drama with comic balance, outstanding characters & dialogue. Ribisi bugged me, tho'. 4 stars
3/24/00 malcolm Nia Long was worth price of admission. Diesel and Affleck kicked ass. 4 stars
3/13/00 Chartsy Giovanni, you've come a long way since My Two Dads, baby! 5 stars
3/13/00 Jim NOT relevant to today's stock market: Internet, online, Wall St. Ben shot cameos in 1 day. 1 stars
3/04/00 jill Ben Affleck can suck my ass. 1 stars
2/27/00 Malbert Pretty cool, I liked it a lot 4 stars
2/25/00 Ben Ryan Worth watching just so you can see the stupidity. 2 stars
2/25/00 Allan Vogt Filthiest soundtrack ever. The secretary was worth the $9.50. Good audience interaction. 3 stars
2/23/00 Charles "Fight Club" in reverse. Loved the secretary! 3 stars
2/22/00 Alexis good acting and a plot that moved along at a brisk pace 5 stars
2/21/00 Jason Kallelis Damn good! Good acting and the plot can suck you in. 4 stars
2/20/00 frank some quality acting, but an average story line 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Feb-2000 (R)
  DVD: 04-Mar-2014

UK
  05-May-2000 (15)

Australia
  12-Oct-2000 (M)




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