Boiler Room (2000)

(In theaters, February 2000) It’s not every day that you can be engrossed by a financial thriller mixed with a family drama, but that’s what you get here. Of course, the plot is enough to be interesting: A young ex-illegal-casino-owner gets hired in a stock trading firm where he’s guaranteed to become a millionaire in three years. Of course, it’s a scam, and as far as scams goes, this one is pretty clever yet explained in an understandable fashion. The acting is decent, with standouts being Ben Affleck in a scene-stealing quasi-cameo and Vin Diesel as a near-decent trader. Protagonist Giovanni Ribisi is less impressive, however; this reviewer couldn’t help but imagine Edward Norton in the role and bemoan Ribisi’s casting. The script is sharp, with funny interludes and not-so-funny insightful vignettes. The family drama drags a bit, and the protagonist’s “redemption” isn’t effective, but that shouldn’t keep you from Boiler Room, a darn good film.

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