Boiler Room: A "Hard 8" production. -- Review by Owen, November 10
For those who don't know, you should go and see the film Hard 8. The first ten minutes are made up of an explaination of a scam directed at getting a free room at a casino in Reno. Roger Ebert claims that he likes films that tell him how to pull a scam. Other examples of this genre include The Sting and Boiler Room. Boiler Room even starts out in a casino, but the real money is won and lost in this world in the greatest gamble of all. High risk investment. Junk bonds. IPOs. Telemarketing. Cocaine. White boy rap. Three thousand dollar suits. Ferrari. Close the deal. Always close the deal.
Boiler room is a study of lives devoid of meaning, searching for acomplishment in the struggle for easy money through the sale of junk investments over the phone. And why not? High risk investment in biotech and small pharma mean big returns! Do you want to see 30% returns? Do you want to drive a new car? Do you want to buy a bigger house? How would you like to do all the things you ever wanted? But I can't take forever to get your answer because I have a hundred other people I need to call and give them this chance as well. You do want a thirty percent return? I knew you'd make the right decision. I'll put you on to my secretary and she can get the paperwork started.
Boiler room tells us a little bit about life, and a bit more about telephone stock fraud. As the film says, two ways out of the ghetto, sling crack rock, or a wicked jump shot. In this case, however, the Ghetto is a nice upper middle class cul-de-sac on Long Island, and the Crack Rock is junk stock.
The best part of this film for me was the Ben Affleck's head trader, who is so totally devoid of any motivation but money that you get the feeling that he would have no reflection and the only thing that would stop him from getting the sale would be a stake in the heart. Furthermore he is so devoid of any kind of taste or character, that in his million dollar house with his quarter million dollar ferrari in front, there sum total of furnishings are a tanning bed, a leather couch, a killer entertainment centre, and (presumeably) a king sized bed with all the rich tasteless bachelor trimmings.
I enjoyed this film. I would not want to spend so much as one minute trapped in an elevator with any of the characters, but I enjoyed the film a great deal. It gets four and a half pints of Kristal Champagne. It is by no means the best champagne in the world, but it is the most expensive, and therefore the rich and tasteless drink it by the quart. The film would have gotten five pints, but there were no explosions.