As the ending of this film approached, I was thinking that this movie was going to turn out to be a great movie, not so. The ending totally ruined the movie for me in what could have been one of the best stock market films Iíve seen, because it had the winning ingredients. However, that also explains the falter of this film in its run at the box office. I heard about it when it came out, and in the same instant, it vanished without a trace. All I remembered about the trailer was the face of Ben Affleck. To tell you the truth, I've always liked-whenever Hollywood does stock market movies, basically because I like the thrills of the stocks going up and down at the NYSE, and the science that weaves around them that keeps them that way. Of course, I've seen Wall Street, but after I found out later about what this movie is in a more deep way, I decided to take a stab at it. It was great in the start, but it was fucked in the end. Why? I'll tell you why.Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) is a college dropout who runs an illegal casino in his apartment. His father (Ron Rifkin) is pissed about it because he's a judge, and his son is just a "dumbfuck" that runs an illegal casino in his apartment, and that will just damage his reputation. Seth, trying to please his father, like every son would, tries to get a job, any type of job so the attacks can stop and his father can be for once proud of him (smells like Wall Street, huh?). During one of his casino nights an old college friend of his visits him, along with Greg (Nicky Katt). They persuade him to get into the stockbroker business via the firm they are working with, J.T. Marlin, a junk bond trade firm ran by its president, Michael (Tom Everett-Scott). Seth sees this as an opportunity and gets in on it. The recruits of the firm are given a rough introduction of the business by the recruiter, Jim Young (Ben Affleck in a great performance). In the first meeting, Young kicks ass and lays down the rules of the company and how its run, who trains young recruits and doesn't hire brokers, and thanks to this character we get some memorable quotes worth listening to. The recruits get divided in teams and Seth goes over to Gregís team. There, Greg tells him more advice on how the ball is played in this firm. There we also meet Chris (Vin Diesel), a charismatic senior broker who appears to have the more experience in the firm than anyone else, and a fast friend with Seth. But later, as the film progresses, the more Seth wants to be with the big guys winning big bucks, the more weird things he starts to discover. Things that Seth didn't know, and probably shouldn't know, appeared everywhere: the high percentage that the brokers win, the empty offices, and the ghost companies the firm "supports." Seth falls in love with Abby (Nia Long), a receptionist with the company, and a forced stool pigeon for the FBI, whose investigating the scams that the firm is making, but yet doesn't have proof. And for Seth, his struggle to gain his fathers long lost love for him, his intentions to get out of the firm and the pressures from Greg and Abby, the FBI, and his own father, lead him to a crossroad that depends on him to choose the right road, even if it means finishing up your dreams.
"Great Drama That Falls Apart In The End"
The film blasts off from the start, and at first the script (written by Ben Younger, who also directs), gives you a smooth run on how the pros and cons of the stock market are played and manipulated. The performances of all the actors were exceptional, and it added to the building suspense of the film. One of the most exciting originalities of the film is the way that brokers convince their half-assed clients to buy the stocks that they offer. Its so interesting on how they do it, how they manipulate the clients on the other side of the phone, that due to that, they get convinced. For them it's an art, and itís the company policy. The firm presses their brokers to get the clients and use whatever necessary means to get them signed on the firm, to buy their stocks. Like Jim Young later recalls: Act as if you were the president of the fucking company, act as if you had a nine-inch cock!!! For them, the key to success is to act as if, and the rest is history.
The movie also tells the inspirations of many young aspiring brokers, like Wall Street and Glengarry Glen Ross, which I found it very interesting because it shows you in real life, that many stockbrokers are kids. Just kids that are just going for the easy money, and how in the end money can change their lives into something else that can be harmful for their own futures. Plus, it also gives you an expansion of the now popular slogan "Greed is good," up to an extent that the movie is in the end a Wall Street rip-off. In some extents it is, and it certainly comes close to it, even though the subject it tackles is the ever possible corruption that firms can do by issuing scam stocks to their clients. This subject pushes the films uniqueness a little, but its chances of separating itself to its own definite uniqueness but then comes the fatal flaw.
Thanks to the aforementioned originalities, the film keeps running well, but towards the remaining half hour of the film, the script runs out of fuel dramatically. One of the factors that makes a film succeed in both drama and suspense, is that there is always a type of tension building up during the course of the film, all off it exploding in the climax, the peak point of the film. The film succeeds in the first step, and the first seeds for the tension are sowed during the course of the movie. But in the end, the film veers off course all of a sudden, and then the end credits roll, leaving you empty handed. The climax never appears and you end up all cheated out. The way the script was written in the end leaves a lot to be desired, and it would have been better if the ending were expanded and added more action to it so it can give the audiences the climax that makes movies worth seeing. But it never comes, and I was left disappointed. Sorry Ben, you fucked up right there.In the end, the final points are given. As a thriller and as a drama, it fails at both, mainly because the film fails to climax at the final moments of the movie. If you want to watch it, be my guest. You get your money's worth in the first 3/4 of the film, but I may suggest you to turn of your T.V at the last quarter and imagine our own ending. Though I seriously doubt you'll press that stop button, since you'll be so into it that you're going to get your ass fucked in the end without even noticing it until the end credits roll. I assure you.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1715&reviewer=235
originally posted: 04/05/01 12:30:43