Boiler Room

Boiler Room (2000)

Seth Davis (Giovani Ribisi) walks away from his successful underground gambling operation to do right by the father (Ron Rifkin) whose love and approval is all he ever wanted.  Trying his hand  at “legitimate” gambling, in the form of the stock market, Davis cashes in only to find that his illegal casino business was the most honest thing he ever did.

The story is good, as is Ribisi’s transformation.  It calls to mind Tom Cruise’s character in “The Firm”, except Ribisi’s Davis never had any illusions about the common good or anything – he wanted to make money.  The movie, though, tries too hard at times.  From painting the crooked stockbrokers as a bunch of wannabe gangsters, to a forced love interest between Ribisi and Nia Long, to a father who tries way too hard to undermine his son’s efforts, it all becomes forced.  All of the characters seem to be cardboard cutouts.

The acting is good, the FBI show up to add some tension, the interplay of the characters is good overall and it’s an entertaining watch, but it’s just not as deep as it wants to be.  Ribisi’s appeal to Senior Broker Chris (Vin Diesel) at the end really completes his transformation, but then everything is just sort of left where it is, making the whole “finale” overall unsettling.

 

Stars: 3/5

 

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